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Russia Indictments Likely Cover Illinois Hack, State Official Says

Illinois State Board of Elections
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois
The Springfield offices of the Illinois State Board of Elections on July 13, 2018.

There are Illinois connections in Friday's indictments related to Russian hacking around the 2016 elections.

The indictment accuses Russian military intelligence of hacking the website of an unnamed state board of elections, identified only as “SBOE 1.”

"We think it’s very likely that we are ‘SBOE number 1,’” says Matt Dietrich, spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Elections.

The indictment says Russians officers allegedly stole personal information on voters, including names, addresses, and driver’s license numbers.

Dietrich says that’s what was taken in Illinois: “Based on the circumstances described in the indictment, we think it’s pretty likely that that’s us."

He says the state has come a long way toward improving cybersecurity.

“We are doing everything we possibly can to make sure that this does not happen again,” Dietrich says. Then again, “I think every entity — Sony, Target, Equifax, and so forth and so on — they’ve all felt the same way. Until it happens.”

The indictment also alleges Russian intelligence leased a computer in Illinois, and used it to store stolen documents from the Democratic National and Congressional Campaign committees.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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