The young cybersleuth says he exposed security lapses on Florida elections websites, but the state says he committed a crime. David Levin, 31, of Estero, a political consultant and owner of a computer security firm, was booked Wednesday on three felony charges of unauthorized access to computer systems. Each count carries a maximum five-year prison sentence. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Levin illegally gained internal access to websites of the state Division of Elections and the Lee County elections office, which together hold data on more than 12 million Florida voters. The FDLE said that after Levin gained access to the Lee County site in December, he used the login credentials of supervisor of elections Sharon Harrington to access the state elections website.
“He took user names and passwords from the Lee County website and gained further access to areas that were password protected,” FDLE Special Agent Larry Long told the Times/Herald on Wednesday. “The state statute is pretty clear. You need to have authorization before you can do that.”
Levin, who runs two consulting businesses, Political Precision and Vanguard Cybersecurity, was briefly held on $15,000 bond. He was released Wednesday afternoon.
The case carries political overtones and surfaces at a time when the security and reliability of the statewide voter database is a subject of debate.