Hacked: FBI Says U.S. State Election Databases Were Breached

According to a report, the FBI has uncovered evidence that shows foreign hackers accessing the state election databases in recent weeks.

The FBI has come across evidence that reveals foreign hackers targeting and compromising at least two state election database, in recent weeks.

According to a report in Yahoo News, the FBI has, following the discovery, issued a “flash” alert, warning election officials across the United States. The bureau is urging officials to increase and enhance the state of the cybersecurity infrastructure inherent in the networks and systems used by election authorities.

That warning was issued on August 18, in an alert from the FBI’s Cyber Division.

Three days prior to the alert, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson reportedly convened a conference call with state election officials on August 15. The call was instigated during a time when concerns about cyberespionage or intrusions from Russian state-sponsored hackers exist among US intelligence officials. During that call, Johnson stated that the Department of Homeland Security was unaware of any “specific or credible cybersecurity threats” concerning the election, while offering departmental help to make election systems in states more secure.

However, the warning duly followed, titled “Targeting Activity Against State Board of Election Systems.” Labelled as one for “NEED TO KNOW recipients”, the alert informed recipients of two state election websites targeted this summer. One of them, the investigation revealed, resulted in theft of voter registration data.

An unnamed law enforcement official stated the investigation as “an eye opener”. The official added: ”We believe it’s kind of serious and we’re investigating.”

While the alert does not specify the targeted states, Yahoo sources say that the vote registration databases in Arizona and Illinois were compromised. The Illinois voter registration system was notably shut down for 10 days in late July, general counsel of the Illinois Board of Elections, Ken Menzel revealed. Hackers breached the system to steal the personal data of up to 200,000 state voters. The Arizona attack saw malware introduced into the system but no data was stolen, a state official stated.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Samburaj is the contributing editor at Hacked and keeps tabs on science, technology and cyber security.