Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson today announced that federal officials told his office that "Russian government" representatives tried unsuccessfully to hack into Oregon's elections system during the 2016 general election.

Richardson's elections director, Steve Trout, got the news in a brief phone call with two federal Department of Homeland Security officials.

DHS officials on the call told Trout that hackers scanned the elections division's internet-connected architecture but did not try to enter or exploit the system. It is unclear exactly who the hackers were: If DHS knows, its officials didn't tell Trout.

The analogy for what happened is this, says Richardson's chief of staff, Debra Royal: A thief walks down the street checking car door handles to see if they are unlocked.

Oregon's doors were locked.

The Associated Press reported separately that DHS today notified a total of 21 states that Russians had tried to hack their elections systems, largely without success.

"We are proud of our team," Richardson says. "The fact that DHS confirmed that we had no Russian intrusions is a testament to the strength of the network security program we have in place."