By Kaitlin L. Lange and Elena Mejia Lutz
For the 2016 election, six Indiana counties used a voter registration software company that news reports say was the focus of cyberattacks by a Russian intelligence unit.
State and local election officials say there is no indication that election or voter data was compromised.
VR Systems was hacked by Russian intelligence, according to reports in The New York Times and other media. Jurisdictions in eight states, including six counties in Indiana, used VR Systems in the 2016 election.
A leaked intelligence report from the National Security Agency, first reported Monday by The Intercept, says a Russian intelligence unit launched two cyberattacks. One directly targeted VR Systems in August and the other was an email phishing scam against 120 election officials in the United States just days before the November election.
It was not immediately known if any of those targeted election officials were from Indiana.
Florida-based VR Systems, in a statement, said: “When a customer alerted us to an obviously fraudulent email purporting to come from VR Systems, we immediately notified all our customers and advised them not to click on the attachment. We are only aware of a handful of our customers who actually received the fraudulent email and of those, we have no indication that any of them clicked on the attachment or were compromised as a result.”
The Indiana secretary of state’s office, which oversees elections, said it has not been contacted by the FBI or VR Systems about a possible problem with election data.
“We think we would have noticed if there was an issue,” said Vallerie Warycha, spokeswoman for Secretary of State Connie Lawson.
Floyd County Clerk Christy Eurton and other local election officials said VR Systems’ work in Indiana involved ePollbooks, which are used in part to check in voters at polling places. The system was not tied to voting machines, Eurton said, and there is no indication of data being compromised.
Cass County Clerk Beth Liming said VR Systems reached out to her office.
“They just wanted to touch base and let us know that we’re fine,” Liming said. “We knew we were fine from the very beginning of it.”
Other Indiana counties that used VR Systems in 2016 were Montgomery, Vanderburgh, Vigo and Wayne.
This story was published in IndyStar June 6, 2017.