The FBI has been forced to issue an alert to election officials nationwide after two state-level voter databases were breached by foreign hackers, believed to be from Russia.
“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. Attempts should not be made to touch or ping the IP addresses directly.”
It is thought the states in question were Arizona and Illinois, with hackers managing to exfiltrate data on 200,000 voters in the case of the latter.
One of the multiple IP addresses used in the attacks featured in both, hinting that they were carried out by the same perpetrators. An Arizona secretary of state spokesman said the FBI had told officials Russia was behind that attack, according to the New York Times.
It’s still not clear why the hackers carried out their attacks but tensions are running particularly high ahead of the November presidential elections thanks to the discovery of a Russian state hand in a recent cyber espionage campaign to hack the Democratic National Committee and others.
Some of that stolen information found its way into the public domain and it’s thought was deliberately intended to harm the Clinton campaign, or at least undermine trust in the electoral system, and therefore the final outcome.
Florida representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign as chairwoman of the DNC after leaked emails appeared to show the committee favoring Clinton over Sanders during the primary.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden recently took to Twitter to speculate that the recent release of information from a hacked NSA staging server could have been given the green light by the Kremlin as a shot across the bows to senior officials not to escalate the “attribution game.”
“This leak is likely a warning that someone can prove US responsibility for any attacks that originated from this malware server,” he tweeted at the time.
“That could have significant foreign policy consequences. Particularly if any of those operations targeted US allies. Particularly if any of those operations targeted elections.”