NSA Chief: Russian Hacking a Concern Ahead of U.S. Elections

NSA director Admiral Mike Rogers has revealed that American intelligence agencies are “actively concerned” about reports that foreign governments are looking to undermine the upcoming November presidential elections through state-sponsored cyberattacks.

Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency has told a senate meeting on Tuesday that US intelligence agencies are concerned about the spate of cyberattacks targeting the United States with reports suggesting that the US elections could also be targeted.

Senator John McCain had asked Rogers if Russia could “somehow harm the electoral process” while plausibly trying to “disrupt the voting results in the upcoming election.”

As reported by Reuters in response to the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, John McCain, Rogers stated:

We continue to be actively concerned.

“I’m not going to characterize this activity,” he added. “I think there are scenarios where you could see capability applied.”

While he didn’t provide any specifics about any investigation(s) or spy agencies’ preliminary assessments of the security framework, he added:

I will say this, that it continues to be an issue of great focus…for the foreign intelligence community, attempting to generate insights into what foreign nations are doing in this area.

Related read: FBI is Investigating Cyberattack Against Democratic Congressional Group

Furthermore, he added that any attempt made to target the US election would be rife with challenges. Rogers opined this from “a defensive standpoint”, pointing to the disparate structure used in the election process where some states vote electronically while others still vote manually via a paper ballot.

Marcel Lettre, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence also testified during the Senate hearing, adding that an “aggressive investigation” is indeed under way while assuring the Senate that the government is taking incidents of cyberattacks and breaches “quite seriously.”

The most notable incidents of political hacking in recent times include the leaked emails and breached network of the Democratic National Committee. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign was also targeted and breached, so too was the Democratic party’s congressional fundraising committee.

Russian officials have repeatedly denied accusations of state-sponsored hacking.

Image credit: Wikimedia.