- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen said Tuesday election officials have not seen any evidence of efforts to hack the midterm elections.

“At this time we have no indication of compromise to our nation’s election infrastructure that would prevent voting, change vote counts or distrust the ability to tally votes,” she said at a press conference Tuesday.

Tuesday marked the first nationwide elections since Russia attempted to influence the 2016 presidential race. For months leading up to the midterm elections, U.S. authorities warned of foreign hackers.

But Ms. Nielsen told reporters that Tuesday’s election “is the most secure election in the modern era.”

She added that the Pentagon has teams available to assist if election hacking is spotted.

But election experts say if a malicious actor put malware into a system to change results and doesn’t want to it to be detected, it won’t be.

Susannah Goodman of Common Cause, part of a coalition of groups monitoring the election, said the threat of hacking is why it encourages paper ballots.

“There are lot of resources a nation-state can have access to and make it happen and invisibly and quietly change election results,” Ms. Goodman told reporters at a Common Cause press conference Tuesday.

However, Ms. Nielsen did say Homeland Security is seeing efforts to influence the election through inaccurate or inflammatory social media postings.

On Monday evening, Facebook announced that it had removed 30 of its own accounts and 85 Instagram accounts that it said may be engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

Nathaniel Gleicher, the company’s head of cybersecurity policy, wrote in a blog post that the Facebook accounts were written in French or Russian, but Instagram accounts were in English.

In late October, Facebook pulled dozens of social media accounts linked to Iran.

Chris Krebs, undersecretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate at DHS, told reporters at the same press conference that inaccurate information about what days to vote or when polls closed had been posted on social media.

Jesse Littlewood, digital director for Common Cause, said the group helped get more than 2,000 misleading posts removed from Twitter.

Mr. Littlewood said the social media company has been receptive to removing the posts.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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