Two States’ Voter Registration Systems Hacked

The FBI has evidence that hackers invaded two state election databases in the last few weeks.The Bureau has warned election officials across the nation to go to greater lengths to strengthen their computer system security. The FBI warning contained in a “flash” alert from FBI’s Cyber Division comes along with intense concerns among US intelligence officials about the possibility of cyber-intrusions.

These intrusions are suspected to be by Russian state-sponsored hackers. The disturbances are intended to disturb the upcoming November elections. Jeh Johnson, with Homeland Security, had a conference call with state elections officials on August 15th, 2016. Johnson offered help from his department to improve the security of state voting systems. Officials said that Homeland Security was not aware of the “specific or credible cyber security threats” to the elections.

Soon after the call with Johnson, the FBI Cyber Division announced a warning that was even more alarming. The document was titled “Targeting Activity Against State Board of Election System.” One of the cyber-intrusions resulted in “exfiltration”, or theft, of voter registration data. This issue is being taken very seriously by the bureau.

Two state election websites were targeted. Originally, the states in question were not identified. However, sources acquainted with the document say it attributes to the targeting by assumed foreign hackers of over registration databases in Arizona and Illinois. In Illinois, the voter registration systems were shut down by state officials for 10 days in July. Hackers were somehow able to receive personal data on up to 200,000 state voters. This information was provided by Ken Menzel, the General Council of Illinois Board of Elections. The Arizona attack was more limited. There was no successful exfiltration of data, according to state officials.


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