Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Cyber Attacks Will Intensify on Election Systems

Cyber Attack on Election Systems
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has just warned all states in the U.S. to tighten security measures related to their online election systems after hackers successfully infiltrated one state board of election and targeted another, ABC News has confirmed.

"The FBI is requesting that states contact their Board of Elections and determine if any similar activity ... has been detected," the agency’s Cyber Division said in a bulletin recently sent to private-industry partners across the country.

In late June, an "unknown actor scanned a state's Board of Election website for vulnerabilities" and, after identifying a security gap, exploited the vulnerability to conduct a "data exfiltration," the FBI said in its 18 August 2016 "flash" bulletin.

Earlier this month, hackers used the same vulnerability in an "attempted intrusion activities into another state’s Board of Election system," the FBI said.

The bulletin did not say who may be behind the cyber attacks, or where they may be located.

The bulletin, first reported by Yahoo News, notes that the FBI "routinely advises private industry of various cyber threat indicators observed during the course of our investigations."

"This data is provided in order to help cyber security professionals and system administrators to guard against the persistent malicious actions of cyber criminals," the bulletin added.

Lawmakers and even top U.S. officials have recently raised concerns over potential Election Day cyber vulnerabilities.

A few weeks ago, the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee called on the federal government to examine its efforts to protect election systems and voting machines in the United States against similar attacks.

"Election security is critical, and a cyberattack by foreign actors on our election systems could compromise the integrity of our voting process," wrote Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security.

For months, the FBI has been investigating what appear to be coordinated cyber attacks on Democratic organizations, with the hacking of the Democratic National Committee being the most damaging so far.

Not only did the hack apparently allow cyber operatives to steal opposition research on Republican nominee Donald Trump, but many suspect it led to the theft of internal messages that showed efforts by DNC officials to undermine Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders during the primary season.

After those damaging emails were publicly released by WikiLeaks, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz stepped down as DNC chairwoman.

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