Russians attempted to hack Broward elections system — unsuccessfully, supervisor says

Two Broward elections officials, and the elections office’s main email account, were sent phishing attempts by Russian hackers in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election.

The attempts were part of a statewide attempt to hack election systems in Florida, according to the report released by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Russian interference in the election. That report noted that the FBI had found some 140 elections officials were sent emails from Russian hackers pretending to be VR Systems, an elections technology company that contracts with the majority of Florida counties.

Anyone who opened the email and then opened an attachment found in it would allow the hackers access to the elections’ office’s internal systems. The Mueller Report noted that one elections official opened the attachment in Florida, but it’s still unknown who did it or in what county.

On April 18, when the report came out, Broward Supervisor of Elections Peter Antonacci told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that he was unaware of any phishing attempts made on the elections office. But emails obtained by the Sun Sentinel revealed that the phishing emails were sent to former supervisor of elections Brenda Snipes, who resigned over separate issues related to the 2018 election, and her administrative assistant, Patricia Santiago.

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