Voting infrastructure in Georgia election hit by ransomware. Important voting infrastructure of a county in Georgia was impacted by a ransomware attack targeted towards local government networks.
Local officials initially disclosed a few details regarding the Oct. 7 attack, citing that “critical systems within the Hall County Government networks” had been affected. CNN reported today that the incident “may be the first ransomware attack to hit election infrastructure this political season.”
The county’s voter signature database and voting precinct map were heavily impacted by the attack, according to Hall County spokesperson Katie Crumley. However, Crumley noted that the county, including the map and database, is in the process of getting the affected systems back online. “The voting process for our citizens has not been impacted due to the network issues.”
It is believed that the attackers targeted Hall County’s voting systems specifically, with many of the county services being disrupted including phone and email. Brett Callow from Emsisoft, a cybersecurity company, noted that US local government agencies were victims of ransomware attacks at a pace of about three per week. He believes the impact on voting is more likely to be “collateral damage”.
Callow believes more incidents impacting voting systems ahead of election day will be experienced, with the impact going beyond mere technical damage. “There is also a very real risk that they may shake voter confidence in the integrity of the vote, especially as confidence may already be quite low.”
Concerns have been mounting around the danger ransomware may pose for weeks to the U.S. presidential election. Security firm NTT warned last month that criminal actors could have already infiltrated key government networks and could wait for the election to cause havoc.
[image: Denis Arslanbekov]