- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hackers tried to breach Pennsylvania government computers over 90 billion times in 2016, a state official said Tuesday, highlighting the scope of the cybersecurity risks at hand across the country as concerns linger surrounding hacking’s role in last year’s U.S. election.

The billions of attempted cyber intrusions in the Keystone State last year include bids to breach computer systems and applications in use by all Commonwealth offices and agencies, Wanda Murren, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of State, told PennLive.

State officials declined to disclose exactly which applications were targeted and to what degree in order to avoid drawing attention to the hackers’ attack vector, PennLive reported Tuesday.

Pennsylvania’s State Department did not say precisely how many of the attempts targeted systems connected to its voter registration system, the report noted. It did not identify any suspects or indicate if any of the attempts were successful.

“As for our efforts to guard against hacking, like other mission-critical systems and data, Pennsylvania protects its voter registration system with a cybersecurity program based upon industry best practices and careful protection,” Ms. Murren said. “We constantly monitor our data and systems for vulnerabilities and attempted attacks in order to keep pace with the rapidly evolving threat landscape.”

Election-related systems in 21 different states where targeted last year by hackers believed to be operating at the behest of Russia, Jeanette Manfra, the acting deputy undersecretary of cyber security for the Department of Homeland Security, told the Senate Intelligence Committee last month.

In South Carolina, voting systems endured nearly 150,000 attempted intrusions on Election Day alone, the Wall Street Journal reported last week. In Illinois, meanwhile, hackers allegedly breached a database containing the names, dates of birth, genders, driver’s licenses and partial Social Security numbers of 15 million registered voters, according to previous reports.

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