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FBI, DHS say they have 'not identified' hacking schemes to change vote tallies ahead of U.S. election

FILE PHOTO: A voting booth is seen at a polling center inside a fire station in the Coral Gables neighbourhood during the Democratic presidential primary election in Miami, Florida, U.S. March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Marco Bello

(Reuters) - U.S. security agencies say they are not aware of any cyber threats that could change vote tallies or “manipulate votes at scale” in the Nov. 3 presidential election, according to a public service announcement released on Thursday.

“The FBI and CISA have not identified any incidents, to date, capable of preventing Americans from voting or changing vote tallies for the 2020 Elections,” the announcement said. CISA, known as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency, is a division of the Homeland Security Department focused on digital security issues.

The statement mirrors past comments from top U.S. security officials, who have said a mass hack to alter voting results would be nearly impossible because of the United States’ decentralized voting system and the availability of fail-safes, such as provisional ballots.

Over the last two years, since the 2018 U.S. midterm election, senior U.S. intelligence officials have openly predicted that hackers associated with Russia, China, Iran and North Korea would attempt to target the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Officials do say that a cyberattack against computer systems which store voter information could slow down the voting process, but not hinder it. Such systems are not used to cast votes, but help in administering the election.

The PSA is the second of its kind in recent weeks. The last announcement cautioned Americans to seek out information about the election from trusted voices, such as local and state election officials, due to the threat of foreign disinformation operations.

Reporting by Christopher Bing in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis

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