The US government is launching a massive effort to stop Russia from hacking the election

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

The US government is launching a massive effort to stop Russian hackers from interfering with the results of next week's presidential election, according to a major report from NBC News.

The White House and the Department of Homeland Security are leading the effort against Russian cyber-meddling, government officials told NBC News. The CIA, National Security Agency, and other US intelligence entities are also involved, the officials said.

One "worst-case scenario" the officials envision is a cyber-attack that shuts down part of the internet. Such an attack could mirror last month's hack that temporarily knocked out a number of popular websites including Twitter, Spotify, and PayPal — an attack some security experts think was conducted by Russia as a "dry run" for an Election-Day hack.

Other less-severe operations could include the release of fake documents that could damage one of the candidates without giving the media a chance to fact-check them. In October, the US government accused Russia of hacking Democratic Party organizations, leading to the release of thousands of illegally-obtained emails that have damaged Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Clinton has said that Russia is trying to get Republican nominee Donald Trump elected, and called Trump a "puppet" of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

"Given [the Russians'] past behavior in other contexts, we understand the way they like to go about potentially causing confusion and so we want to make sure that we are mitigating that potential," a Department of Homeland Security official told NBC News.

As for actually altering the vote count on Election Day, that task would be extremely difficult for hackers, the officials said, because of the "decentralized nature" of US elections.

"States ensure that voting machines are not connected to the Internet, and there are numerous checks and balances as well as extensive oversight at multiple levels built into our election process," an senior administration official told NBC News.

RELATED: Vladimir Putin

9 PHOTOS
Vladimir Putin
See Gallery
Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a glass of champagne after a state awards ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow, on March 10, 2016. AFP PHOTO / POOL / PAVEL GOLOVKIN / AFP / POOL / PAVEL GOLOVKIN (Photo credit should read PAVEL GOLOVKIN/AFP/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA. MARCH 1, 2016. Russia's president Vladimir Putin at the 7th congress of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation (CCI). Mikhail Metzel/TASS (Photo by Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu leave Moscow's Red Square on May 9, 2015 after the Victory Day military parade. Russian President Vladimir Putin presides over a huge Victory Day parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Soviet win over Nazi Germany, amid a Western boycott of the festivities over the Ukraine crisis. AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks with the leader of Georgia's breakaway province of South Ossetia Leonid Tibilov during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on June 1, 2015. AFP PHOTO / POOL / IVAN SEKRETAREV (Photo credit should read IVAN SEKRETAREV/AFP/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - FEBRUARY 17: Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) looks on as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban kisses the hand of a member of the Russian delegation during a signing ceremony of several agreements between the two countries on February 17, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Putin is in Budapest on a one-day visit, his first visit to an EU-member country since he attended ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasions in France in June, 2014. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi at the Kremlin in Moscow on May 21, 2015. AFP PHOTO / POOL / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - MARCH 16: Russia President Vladimir Putin waves during the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games Closing Ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium on March 16, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he speaks during a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Japan, December 16, 2016. REUTERS/Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read the full NBC News report here »

NOW WATCH: Watch Trump repeatedly photobomb Clinton during the debate

See Also:

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners

Nature Gets Revenge On Safari Hunter Who Killed Elephants And Lions For Sport Nature Gets Revenge On Safari Hunter Who Killed Elephants And Lions For Sport
Man Suspects His Wife Is Cheating On Him - Then His Daughter Reveals What's Really Going Man Suspects His Wife Is Cheating On Him - Then His Daughter Reveals What's Really Going
Don't Get Too Close To a Newborn Giraffe Unless You Want to Get Kicked in the Nuts Don't Get Too Close To a Newborn Giraffe Unless You Want to Get Kicked in the Nuts