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Local Connections To Reported Russian Election System Hack

Joseph Lorenzo Hall
Wikimedia Commons

Reports of Russian hacking into several states voting systems, including Indiana’s, have recently surfaced.  Monday afternoon, national reports came out of Russian intelligence hacking Florida-based VR Systems. The company operates election software in eight states.

The Indianapolis Star reported that six Indiana counties, including Vanderburgh, have contracts with VR Systems, but Vanderburgh County Clerk Carla Hayden said there is no evidence that the hack compromised the county’s election data.

The Intercept reported that in addition to the hack at VR Systems, an email-phishing scam targeted around 100 election officials. Hayden said she does not know whether any Vanderburgh County officials were targets, but the Clerk’s Office is investigating.

“We are searching through our IT department. They’re checking to make sure that there wasn’t anything here, but we’ve not been made aware of anything that was received here,” she said. “No one seems to recall anything like this coming through here, but we are going back and checking.”

University of Evansville Political Science Assistant Professor Dr. Richard Maass specializes in international relations and security. He said that the alleged hacks may upset what’s already a shaky relationship.

“There seems to be little reason to expect that Russia wouldn’t try to hack into future elections if they were trying to hack into this one, and so that doesn’t go far to build trust between the two nations moving forward,” he said.

For Maass, events like these serve as a reminder that we live in a globalized world.

“Being in Vanderburgh County, in Indiana, in the center of the country, we’re not particularly close to any other country geographically, but we are close digitally, and so we can’t think that we can escape from anything,” he said. “We can’t think of our world as a bubble and ignore what’s outside.”