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Russia targeted elections systems in all 50 states, Senate report says

The Senate Intelligence Committee report is heavily redacted and comes a day after former special counsel Robert Mueller testified before the House.


The 2016 presidential election hack targeted all 50 states.

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This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET's coverage of the run-up to voting in November.

Russia likely targeted election systems in all 50 states during the last presidential election, the Senate Intelligence Committee has revealed, indicating that the problem is far wider than previously known. The Russian Active Measures and Interference in the 2016 Election report [PDF] published Thursday also concluded that there is no evidence that any votes were changed.

"DHS assessed that the searches, done alphabetically, probably included all 50 states, and consisted of research on 'general election-related web pages, voterID information, election system software, and election service companies,'" the 67-page report says.

"Neither DHS nor the Committee can ascertain a pattern to the states targeted, lending credence to DHS's later assessment that all 50 states probably were scanned."

During the first known breach by Russian state actors in Illinois during the election, the report says, "Russian cyber actors were in a position to delete or change voter data, but the Committee is not aware of any evidence that they did so."

The heavily redacted reported came just a day after Robert Mueller, the former special counsel who investigated interference in the 2016 election, told the House of Representatives that Russia is still interfering in American democracy.

A report from two years ago said Russia's election hacking had reached 39 states -- which was nearly double the number previously reported. That report came just days after a leaked National Security Agency report revealed widespread cyberattacks on more than 100 local governments and a voting software firm leading up to the 2016 election.