NSA chief Michael Rogers testifies during a US Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept 13, 2016, in Washington DC. (AFP)
The US National Security Agency (NSA) has expressed concerns over reports that some foreign governments may launch cyber attacks to undercut the November presidential election.
“We continue to be actively concerned,” NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers said at a Senate hearing on Tuesday.
Rogers made the remarks when Senator John McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, asked if Russia “could somehow harm the electoral process” in Arizona and Illinois, where reports of hacking surfaced in June and July respectively.
US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) (L) listens to Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) (R) prior to a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee September 13, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (AFP)
“I think there are scenarios where you could see capability applied in particular areas,” Rogers said.
The FBI is currently investigating a recent hack of Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails, whose disclosure forced DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to step down.
The campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has blamed Russia for the cyber intrusion, saying the publication of the stolen emails was aimed at helping Republican nominee Donald Trump win the election.
The Kremlin has rejected the hacking accusations, saying it would work with any US administration if they wanted to.
Rogers said he could not provide specific details about the NSA's current assessment of the alleged hacking in a public setting, but added, "I will say this, that it continues to be an issue of great focus ... for the foreign intelligence community, attempting to generate insights into what foreign nations are doing in this area."
goog_967471743US Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel Lettre testifies at a Senate hearing on September 13, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (AFP)
US Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel Lettre, who was also present at the hearing, said the government is taking such activities "quite seriously," noting there was an "aggressive investigation" underway.
The FBI listed eight separate IP addresses that were the sources of the two attacks, one in Arizona and the other in Illinois, and suggested that the attacks may have been linked, noting that one of the IP addresses was used in twice.
In Arizona, hackers tried to get in using malicious software but could not pull it off. However, the state took its online voter registration down for nine days, starting in late June.
In Illinois, the breaches included the theft of data from as many as 200,000 voter records in July, according to officials.

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