Cyber-attack on Fla. election first known case

Cyber Security
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A cyberattack against an online election system in Florida last year appears to be a historic first in terms of voter fraud, NBC News reports.

More than 2,500 “phantom requests” for absentee ballots were made through the Miami-Dade County elections website, according to a grand jury report on problems in the Aug. 14 primary election.

The attempt to illegally obtain absentee ballots using a computer program is the first known case in the U.S., according to computer scientists and lawyers working to safeguard voting security.

NBC News reports that “because of the enormous number of requests – and the fact that most were sent from a small number of computer IP addresses in Ireland, England, India and other overseas locations – software used by the county flagged them and elections workers rejected them.”

“It’s the first documented attack I know of on an online U.S. election-related system that’s not (involving) a mock election,” said David Jefferson, a computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who is on the board of directors of the Verified Voting Foundation and the California Voter Foundation.

There are few answers about who was behind the “phantom requests,” which targeted Democratic voters in the 26th Congressional District and Republicans in Florida House districts 103 and 112, according to the Miami Herald.

The Miami-Dade state attorney’s office could not determine who was responsible because of the foreign IP addresses, according to the grand jury report. The Miami Herald found that some of the requests originated in Miami and could have been further traced. The new information is being reviewed by the state attorney’s office.

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