A local election in Tennessee is dealing with the aftermath of a cyberattack, and the county’s mayor is calling for an investigation. On Tuesday night, as polls were closing for Knox County’s primary races for the mayoral election, the county’s website displaying the results crashed. The page was down for about an hour starting around 8 p.m. before officials were able to restore it, according to the county’s Election Commission. … The primary election continued, with the county announcing that Glenn Jacobs, also known as WWE wrestler Kane, had won the GOP nomination by 17 votes. The attack did not affect votes because the county’s voting machines are not connected online, an election official told WBIR.
Cyberattacks against elections are a major concern for the US. The Department of Homeland Security has warned against voting machine hacks as well as targeted attacks against campaigns. The agency said that in 2016 hackers targeted election systems in 21 states, and election officials are on high alert for future attacks.
The cyberattack in Tennessee was a public showcase of how hackers could strike, even in a local election. The Knox County IT director, Dick Moran, said that the website’s servers crashed after seeing “extremely heavy and abnormal network traffic” from IP addresses both from the US and from outside the country.