FBI Warning That Foreign Hackers Are Targeting US Election Systems

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has informed the US elections officials to devise new measures to safeguard the security of their computer systems. This follows an FBI flash alert that was issued warning that the US elections and voter registration systems are being targeted by foreign hackers. The FBI has found evidence that the hackers had penetrated two state election databases in the recent past.

The alert, which mentioned “attempted intrusion activities” by unknown actors, was issued by the agency’s Cyber Division. The agency said that suspected hackers tried to hack voter registration databases in two states but they did not mention which states. Sources, however, indicate that the targeted states were Illinois and Arizona where, for 10 days, officials were forced to shut down the voter registration system after hackers’ downloaded personal data of up to 200,000 Illinois state voters. In Arizona, no data theft was reported; however, reports indicated that a hacker had gained login access to Arizona election systems.

The FBI alert was addressed to “need to know” recipients calling on all the states and election officials to inform the agency in case of suspected attacks. Several incidents in the past have seen hackers establishing and exploiting flaws in election websites in the US. Voter data has been exposed and websites continue to be vulnerable, thanks to security flaws and misconfigured databases.

The agency said that the alert was meant to help systems administrators safeguard against persistent actions of cyber attackers. Reports indicated that the attackers were suspected to be foreign and there was a “possible link” with the attack on Democratic National Committee and other political groups alleged to be committed by Russian hackers. Indeed, cybercrime is real and we all need to put in place security measures to avoid falling prey to these modern day criminal gangs. 

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