NPR

5 Unanswered Questions Raised By The Leaked NSA Hacking Report

The appearance of a National Security Agency report about Russian cyber-mischief adds new detail about what American spies know — but it also highlights much of what still isn't clear.

America's sprawling elections infrastructure has been called "a hairball" — but as people in Silicon Valley might ask, is that a feature or a bug?

Then-FBI Director James Comey touted it as a good thing — "the beauty of our system," he told Congress, is that the "hairball" is too vast, unconnected and woolly to be hacked from the outside.

That was before Monday's leak of a top secret National Security Agency report about a Russian election cyberattack. What that document confirms is that if the whole is safe, its many individual parts may not be.

The NSA report, posted by The Intercept, documents a scheme by Russia's military intelligence agency, the GRU, to compromise the systems of a Florida elections services company — then use that access to explore local voting registration records.

"It is unknown whether the aforementioned spear-phishing deployment successfully compromised the intended victims, and what potential data could have been accessed by the cyber actor," as one NSA analyst wrote in the report.

Here are 5

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR2 min readPolitics
Opinion: Diplomats Called 'Deep State' Insiders Were Outsiders Fleeing Oppression
NPR's Scott Simon examines the personal experiences of the three U.S. career diplomats who have testified this week in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
NPR4 min readSociety
'This Isn't Speech:' Attorney Carrie Goldberg On Revenge Porn
Attorney and author Carrie Goldberg was the target of revenge porn from an ex-boyfriend, and now she's built a practice helping people in similar situations. Her new book is Nobody's Victim.
NPR5 min read
Budding Hemp Farmers Struggle To Find Success In The 'Green Rush'
CBD products are found everywhere from gas stations to drugstores. A record number of farmers are growing hemp for CBD this year, but making money has proved challenging.