The vulnerability of the nation’s voting systems to hackers is a growing concern at both the federal and state levels, with hundreds of thousands of intrusion attempts detected, officials said.

“I don’t think any of us really put a lot of time thinking, ‘Boy, would somebody ever contest the infrastructure associated with our election process?’ ” said Admiral Michael S. Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, speaking at the Cambridge Cyber Summit yesterday. “We’re entering a world where literally nothing seems to be beyond the reach or intent of someone out there to try to access it and often for a variety of purposes: economic advantage, intelligence, embarrassment.”

Michele Reagan, secretary of state of Arizona, said hackers tried to access her state’s voter registration records earlier this year, and said the state has seen 192,000 attempted intrusions. She said the FBI determined the hackers — who were unable to get the registration records — were Russian.

“What I think they were trying to do is scare people, and in talking to constituents all over Arizona, it scared people,” Reagan said yesterday. “Somebody in a tiny rural town in Arizona does not expect a Russian to hack their computer.”

Rajesh De, the former general counsel of the National Security Agency, said it is unclear whether hackers are trying manipulate results, get millions of names and addresses of voters, or simply sow fear and uncertainty in the election process.

“It’s impossible to know, there could be so many explanations for this kind of activity,” De said.

Officials have said at least 20 states have been targeted, including Illinois. No other states have been named.

Brian McNiff, a spokesman for Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin, said the Bay State has not detected any attempted hacks, and said the state is not worried about registration breaches or manipulating election results. He said Massachusetts is not one of the states that have reached out to the federal government for assistance.


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