Russian tampering with US voting systems ahead of the presidential election last November was more widespread than initially thought with almost double the number of states affected investigators have revealed.
Investigators told Bloomberg that hackers linked to Russia breached the voting systems of as many as 39 states ahead of the election in which Donald Trump became president.
Cyber attackers accessed voter databases and software used by poll workers, according to Bloomberg. Campaign finance details were accessed in at least one state. And in Illinois the hackers attempted to edit or delete voter information, investigators found.
The Obama administration complained to Russia about the intrusions in an unprecedented use of a modern-day "red phone", a secure messaging channel between the countries.
The news follows the leak of classified National Security Agency documents to the Intercept, which showed Russia's military intelligence department conducted a cyber-attack against at least one major US voting supplier.
This article from Wired focusing on the use of a new program to target key pieces of utility infrastructure is an additional aspect to the evolving cybersecurity theme.
The simple truth is a quasi-Cold War is brewing within the cyber sector with only superficial reporting of the more headline grabbing cases. If we take a step back there is a concerted effort by Russia and China to influence Western elections, to steal state secrets and corporate intellectual property and the stakes are growing increasingly high.
The recent largely ineffectual global ransomware attack only failed because the criminals behind the attempt were clumsy. It is likely they will be better prepared next time around. That means at the very least make sure your software is always kept up to date and that you invest in a reputable anti-malware provider. I use Malwarebytes.
From an investment perspective the Purefunds ISE Cyber Security ETF (HACK) continues to hold a progression of higher reaction lows and a sustained move below the trend mean would be required to question medium-term upside potential.
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