DHS: Cyberattack on Mississippi Election Websites Not 'Widespread Coordinated Campaign' Election workers sort ballots at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Phoenix, Arizona. (John Moore/Getty Images)
By Brian Pfail | Wednesday, 09 November 2022 05:34 PM EST
Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson announced on Wednesday that his office could not confirm the identity of perpetrators behind a cyberattack that disrupted Mississippi's election websites on Tuesday.
Watson said the cyberattack caused the state's site to be "periodically inaccessible,"although he remains optimistic that the "election system was not compromised."
Reportedly, a Russian hacking group claimed responsibility for the attack. According to USA TODAY, the group said on Telegram that it targeted the state's election websites to "hit the section that is directly related to the elections."
The hackers said they would "attack American Democrats as a gift to the Republicans for the elections," and its first target would be the Democratic National Committee.
The DNC website was down at some point on Tuesday, but it's unclear what might have caused the outage.
A senior official at DHS's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) told reporters that they are "certainly aware of the [Russian] claims… but that's not enough for the federal government to provide attribution."
Another state that suffered from a cyberattack on Election Day was Illinois. The state's Champaign County Clerk's Office posted on Facebook acknowledging network and server issues believed to be caused by cyberattacks.
The attacks came one day after Yevgeny Prigozhin, a wealthy Russian business and close confidant to Vladimir Putin, allegedly claimed on Telegram that the Kremlin interfered in the U.S. elections to subvert American democracy.
"We interfered, we interfere, and we will interfere," said Prigozhin.
CISA said on Tuesday that they were aware of a "handful" of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that impacted several state election websites.
CISA said that Election Day was successful overall, and those targeted quickly recovered. It also said there was no evidence to suggest a "widespread coordinated campaign," chalking much of it up to normal glitches.