The San Diego County Registrar of Voters’ website went out of service on election night because a firewall detected an attempt to overload the site, officials said Thursday, adding that an investigation was being conducted. Sdvote.com went down soon after initial results were posted after 8 p.m. Tuesday, and the site remained inoperative for about two hours. Access to the site was also spotty after midnight. Residents and local politicos use the site to track results. The county also uses its information technology to send a direct feed of results to news media, but that feed was not interrupted. According to a county statement, sdvote.com began receiving well over 1 million hits per minute from a single Internet protocol address around 8:15 p.m., so a firewall that recognized suspicious activity shut down outside access to county websites. Investigators said they believe the “denial of service” attack was launched against the site to prevent legitimate users from obtaining information. It was unknown if the attack was meant to disrupt the election itself, according to the county.
IT vendor Hewlett Packard ruled out any hardware or software issues, and there was plenty of capacity for the number of users who tried to use sdvote.com, according to the county. County officials said they were working with a security team and Hewlett Packard to find who or what was responsible for the attack, and reviewing ways to keep such an event from taking down the site in the future.