The Knox County website that displays election results crashed on election night due to “deliberate” and “widespread” cyberattack, officials said. Officials described the cyberattack as a distributed denial-of-service attack, which is an attempt to disable an online service by overloading it with computer traffic that comes — or appears to come — from many sources. The cyberattack had no effect on vote tallies. It only prevented officials from displaying election results to the public through the Knox County Election Commission’s website, according to Richard Moran, the IT director for the county.
The website went down about 8 p.m. Tuesday after the county’s computers crashed from a massive amount of traffic that appeared to be coming from “many, many servers all over the country and all over the world,” Moran said.
Moran, who said he’s worked in IT for 40 years, said the county has seen similar denial-of-service attacks before. “But never on election night,” he said.
While the website was down, most members of the public were unable to see who was winning in a slew of primary elections, including a hotly-contested county mayoral race and a county sheriff race.