The FBI has issued an alert that foreign hackers breached two local state election databases in Arizona and Illinois:
The FBI bulletin listed eight separate IP addresses that were the sources of the two attacks and suggested that the attacks may have been linked, noting that one of the IP addresses was used in both intrusions. The bulletin implied that the bureau was looking for any signs that the attacks may have been attempting to target even more than the two states. “The FBI is requesting that states contact their Board of Elections and determine if any similar activity to their logs, both inbound and outbound, has been detected,” the alert reads. “Attempts should not be made to touch or ping the IP addresses directly.”
In the case of the Illinois hack, officials were forced to shut down the state’s voter registration system for 10 days after hackers obtained the personal information of 200,000 voters. They were not successful in obtaining any information in the Arizona hack.
According to cybersecurity experts, one of the IP addresses listed in the FBI alert has been seen before in Russian criminal underground hacker forums.
Additionally, while the possibility of a cyberattack large enough to disrupt the November election is “remote,” it’s not out of the question. U.S. officials have recently pressured the Department of Homeland Security to formally designate state election systems as “critical infrastructure,” which would allow state election officials to request federal assistance to protect their voting systems. The designation is “under consideration,” according to a DHS spokesman.