Get All Access for $5/mo

U.S: Iran and Russia Obtained Voter Registration Data to Interfere in U.S. Election 'If you receive an intimidating or manipulative email in your inbox, don't be alarmed and do not spread it,' the U.S. Director of National Intelligence said on Wednesday.

By Michael Kan

This story originally appeared on PCMag

Sean Rayford/Getty Images via PC Mag

Iran has been sending emails to U.S. voters in an attempt to intimidate them at the polls, according to U.S. officials. The warning comes after voters in Alaska, Arizona and Florida reported receiving emails with the subject line: "Vote Trump or Else."

The emails claim to come from the far-right organization the Proud Boys and warn the recipient that all their personal information, including phone number and address, has fallen into the group's hands. "You will vote for Trump on Election Day or we will come after you," the messages threaten.

But according to U.S. intelligence, the emails are actually the work of an Iranian group out "to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump," John Ratcliffe, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, said during a surprise news conference on Wednesday.

"Additionally, Iran is distributing other content to include a video that implies that individuals could cast fraudulent ballots, even from overseas," he added. "This video, and any claims about such allegedly fraudulent ballots, are not true. These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries."

However, Iran isn't alone in attempting to manipulate U.S. voters. Ratcliffe also claimed Russia has taken "specific actions" to influence public opinion during the elections. Specifically, U.S. intelligence has "confirmed" foreign actors with both countries have obtained some voter registration information, which explains how the Iranian group was able to message the U.S. voters via email.

"This [voter registration] data can be used by foreign actors to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine your confidence in American democracy," he added.

Related: 50 Cent Doubles Down on Rejection of Biden's Tax Plan

So far, U.S. intelligence hasn't observed Russia sending spoofed emails to manipulate U.S. voters. During the short eight-minute press conference, Ratcliffe also didn't go into specifics about how the U.S. determined Iran's and Russia's involvement.

But in response, the U.S. is trying to combat the election interference attempts with the truth so that the public won't fall for the scare tactics. "Do not allow these efforts to have the intended effect," Ratcliffe added. "If you receive an intimidating or manipulative email in your inbox, don't be alarmed and do not spread it. This is not a partisan issue."

Michael Kan


Michael has been a PCMag reporter since October 2017. He previously covered tech news in China from 2010 to 2015, before moving to San Francisco to write about cybersecurity.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick


Clean up Your Mac Software with This $12 Family Plan, for One Week Only

Save on a program that can optimize your company's Mac computers.


7 Ways You Might Be Damaging Your Credibility as an Entrepreneur

Here are seven credibility killers entrepreneurs need to be aware of.

Business News

Wells Fargo Reportedly Fired More Than a Dozen Employees for Faking Keyboard Activity

The bank told Bloomberg that it "does not tolerate unethical behavior."

Business Solutions

Why Every Solopreneur Needs to Embrace AI-Powered Teams

With the right approach, solopreneurs can harness AI to drive efficiency, productivity and business growth.


Tech Overload Will Destroy Your Customer Relationships. Are You Guilty of Using Too Much Tech?

Technology's value in our world is undeniable. However, there can be a point where it is ineffective and possibly counterproductive. See where it can negatively impact your product, brand, and business.