August 29, 2016 Illinois State Board of Elections officials confirmed on Monday that a cyber-attack compromised the personal information of around 200,000 voters in the state earlier this summer. The cyber security breach of possible foreign origin occurred from June to July. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) confirmed on Monday the agency is investigating cybersecurity breaches in two states’ election databases — Illinois and Arizona.
Illinois State Board of Elections General Counsel, Ken Menzel said hackers accessed a database for the Illinois Board of Elections, compromising up to 200,000 personal voter records
In Arizona, a potential threat to the state’s voter-registration system discovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation resulted in the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office decision to shut down parts of its system.
A Yahoo News reporter obtained a copy of an alert on Monday that was distributed by the FBI’s Cyber Division that read:
“Targeting Activity Against State Board of Election Systems. The alert said that the FBI was investigating the intrusions into two states’ election websites whereby one resulted in the “exfiltration” or theft of voter registration data”.
Last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began an investigation into a hack of The New York Times to determine if that incident is connected to a larger series of cyber-attacks by Russian hackers — including the Democratic National Committee in July. Democratic leaders, including Hillary Clinton said Russian hackers stole Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails and released them on WikiLeaks just days before the Democratic National Convention to create disunity in the party and aid Donald Trump. Some democratic leaders accused Russian President, Vladimir Putin of trying to tilt the outcome of the 2016 presidential election in favor of the Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump. Trump previously called on Russian hackers to infiltrate Hillary Clinton’s e-mails and has publicly praised Putin, calling for a foreign-policy approach more sympathetic to Russia.
The FBI has conducted several investigations related to the 2016 presidential election since U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Jeh Johnson reached out to state election officials, offering assistance to states to make voting systems more secure on August 15. Secretary Johnson emphasized there was no “specific or credible cybersecurity threats” to the election.
Cynthia Hodges holds a M.A. in Political Science from NEIU in Chicago, Illinois and a Post-Grad Professional Certificate in Disaster and Terrorism Management from University of North Carolina -Chapel Hill. In addition to a successful writing career, Cynthia is in the process of writing a book on the role of private security guards as first responders in the post 9/11 America. "My career has been a balance of security and education, and my passion for Homeland Security while protecting individual's Constitutional rights has grown as a result of the two."