Hackers last year made more than 90 billion cyber intrusion attempts against the Commonwealth, according to a state official. As a security precaution the state is withholding information on the number of attempts against specific applications. Wanda Murren, press secretary for the state Department of State, said that such disclosure could potentially provide useful information to hackers and draw attention to the application, resulting in even more intrusion attempts. … The 90 billion figure applies to all computer systems and applications in use by all Commonwealth agencies and offices. But the accounting comes as local and state election systems across the country remain under scrutiny amid reports that scores of them were compromised during the election. The state Department of State declined to provide specific numbers on intrusion attempts against Pennsylvania’s voter registration system.
… In the run-up to last fall’s election, Pennsylvania was the first state to take advantage of Homeland Security’s offer to do vulnerability testing and scanning, Murren said. That assessment gave the Commonwealth high grades overall. Some minor changes that were recommended were put in place. State officials also work closely with county election offices to develop and implement best practices, Murren added.
The state Department of State, which oversees elections, issued a directive to counties in 2016 reiterating good cyber-hygiene practices for elections.
Pennsylvania is considered one of the states most susceptible to hacking because 96 percent of its voting machines store votes electronically. Still, state officials consider the state immune from hacking because its voting machines and tabulating systems aren’t connected to the internet.