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Illinois Board of Elections Director Steve Sandvoss Discusses Russian Hacking

CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois’ top election official was among the latest to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee about the theft of voter information by Russian hackers.

Illinois Board of Elections Director Steve Sandvoss said his IT staff detected hacking a year ago Friday before anyone else because so much information was sought — five hits a second. But would they have detected it had the hacking been lower key?

He thinks not — at least not right away.

Instead, Sandvoss said the hits continued in unrelenting fashion for weeks after the holes in security were plugged.

He said a less relentless hack probably “would not stand out.”

Although the FBI said there is no question Russian hackers are responsible, Sandvoss said he hasn’t been told that directly; the malicious IP addresses state IT workers identified were from the Netherlands.

He said he is willing to share how weaknesses were plugged with other states but said what is needed is state-of-the-art paper ballot-based systems — paid for with federal money.

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