West Virginians are fortunate that our secretary of state, Mac Warner, is a nationally recognized leader in keeping the voting process secure from tampering. But Warner and his fellow chief election officers from other states, gathered during the weekend for a meeting in Philadelphia, are well aware of the need for continuing vigilance.
Russian interests meddled in the 2016 presidential election, primarily using social media to stir discord among Americans. That campaign continues.
But prior to and during the 2016 voting, Russian hackers also tried to breach election systems in 21 states. They were successful, and then just to a limited extent, only in Illinois, according to previous reports.
A federal indictment last week alleges that Russian hackers were able to steal information on about 500,000 elections from one board of elections. The state was not identified.
In addition, it is known Moscow was behind electronic break-ins involving some political party and other organization computers.
Clearly, Russian leader Vladimir Putin recognizes the potential of exploiting weaknesses in U.S. political and elections systems — not to mention that of putting Americans at each others’ throats through use of social media.
So yes, political hacking is a challenge and will continue to be one.
Note this: Everything we have written to this point and nearly all the media attention to the subject has focused on Russia. We have other enemies in the world. Those capable of building nuclear weapons and long-range missiles surely have cyberwarfare capabilities, too. So it is not just the world that is a dangerous place. It is the world wide web, too.