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Top U.S. federal election protection official says no sign of infrastructure hacks

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By Joseph Menn

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The official leading the effort to protect U.S. elections from foreign hacking said on Tuesday he had seen no signs of infiltration on computer systems used to record and tabulate votes.

“The technical stuff on networks, we’re not seeing,” said Chris Krebs, director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). “It gives me a little bit of confidence.”

Krebs’ pre-recorded remarks were delivered in a panel at the annual Billington CyberSecurity Summit of private and government agencies. Krebs’ remarks were taped a few weeks after White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said that Chinese government-linked hackers were targeting election infrastructure ahead of the Nov. 3 vote.

A CISA spokesman declined a request to clarify whether Krebs and O’Brien disagree in their assessments.

Krebs said that his agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, has been aiding state and local election officials with guidance on security flaws and contingency plans, like backing up registration data.

The most important thing for CISA, he said, was for local officials to report incidents they were detecting on their own. Thus far, the reports have not been troubling, he said, and no one has got into a position to change any votes.

Top U.S. federal election protection official says no sign of infrastructure hacks

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