This midterm election, the state of Illinois is concentrating all its efforts on voter registration security to avoid incidents similar to those in 2016 when Russian hackers used SQL injection to breach the state’s voter registration database.
As it was the only state to lose its voter database to hackers two years ago, Illinois has used millions of dollars it received from Congress to improve cybersecurity and prevent further programming errors to ensure the democratic process won’t be affected during the midterms, writes Tech Republic.
The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security were immediately informed about the breach, with their investigation resulting in charges against 12 Russian operatives who were also involved in hacking the emails of the DNC and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, according to CBS.
“The object of the conspiracy was to hack into the computers of U.S. persons and entities involved in the 2016 presidential election, steal documents from those computers, and stage releases of the stolen documents to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election,” the indictment read.
“A lot of national security experts believe that 2016 was kind of a testing ground for hackers to see where the vulnerabilities are and how to break-in in the future,” commented Danielle Root from the Center for American Progress.
To prevent foreign interference in midterm elections, Illinois has invested some $7 million in election security and created the Illinois Cyber Navigator Program. The state will hire nine more cybersecurity specialists, in addition to the three it already has, to identify risks and weak points, and train officials about cybersecurity best practices such as detecting phishing attempts. Illinois is one over 20 states working closely with the National Guard in case a cyberattack will hit the election system.
“Knowing what happened to us in 2016, we’ve been vigilant since then of another similar type of attack, even though the reality is that a hack like that can’t affect the election in any way—we had our voter registration database backed up many times, so when they hacked into it, they were unable to change or delete any data,” said Matt Dietrich, public information officer for the Illinois State Board of Elections.
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Bitdefender Labs authored by Luana Pascu. Read the original post at: https://labs.bitdefender.com/2018/10/illinois-invests-7-million-in-cybersecurity-to-prevent-election-hacking/