Investigators found evidence of a “malicious intrusion” into a Tennessee county’s elections website from a computer in Ukraine during a concerted cyberattack, which likely caused the site to crash just as it was reporting vote totals in this month’s primary. Cyber-security experts hired by Knox County to analyze the so-called “denial of service” cyberattack, said Friday that “a suspiciously large number of foreign countries” accessed the site as votes were being reported on May 1. That intense activity was among the likely causes of the crash, according to the report by Sword & Shield Enterprise Security. “Given the circumstantial evidence_especially the simultaneous proven malicious intrusion from a Ukraine IP address_I think it is reasonable to at least hypothesize that it was an intended event,” David Ball, the county’s deputy director of information technology, added in an email to The Associated Press.Full Article: Ukraine computer involved in Tennessee elections attack.
Articles about voting issues in Tennessee.
Tennessee: A cyberattack knocked a Tennessee county’s election website offline during voting | TechCrunch
After a distributed denial-of-service attack knocked some servers offline during a local election in Tennessee this week, Knox County is working with an outside security contractor to investigate the cause. The attack took the Knox County Election Commission site displaying results of the county mayoral primary offline during Tuesday night voting. The county resorted to distributing printed results during the outage. “Tonight, Our web servers suffered a successful denial of service attack,” Knox County wrote on Twitter on Tuesday night. “Election results were not affected, as our election machines are never connected to the Internet.” The day after the incident, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett reassured voters that the attack did not compromise the vote. Election systems that can go online are far less secure than systems that are not able to connect to the internet.Full Article: A cyberattack knocked a Tennessee county’s election website offline during voting | TechCrunch.
The shutdown of a county website in Tennessee — which briefly disrupted the display of election-night results in primary races — is under investigation, and occurred as officials around the country fear cyber attacks in this fall’s midterm elections. A server crashed, shutting down the Knox County website just as polls closed Monday night for local government offices, according to a statement from Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. The website was down for about an hour before officials restored it. “Although the crash didn’t affect the vote tallies or the integrity of the election, this is not something that should happen,” Burchett said. “I want to know what happened, and I think an independent review will help to determine that so we can move forward and work to prevent similar issues in the future.”Full Article: Hackers May Be Behind Election Night Website Crash in Tennessee - Bloomberg.
Officials in Knox County, Tennessee, are trying to gather more information about a cyberattack that crashed a government website that displayed election results to the public during its primary election for local offices on Tuesday. Dick Moran, the county’s top IT official, believes Knox County was the target of a denial-of-service attack in which actors with both domestic and foreign IP addresses deliberately flooded the county’s servers with traffic to try and crash them. The county website displaying election results went down for about an hour as polls closed on Tuesday. The crash meant that people who went to check election results between 8 and 9 p.m. on election night received an error message, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. While the website was down, election officials printed out hard copies of the election results and gave them to reporters, WBIR, a local NBC affiliate, reported. Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett (R) said on Wednesday that the crash didn’t impact “vote tallies or the integrity of the election,” but that the county had hired a security firm to investigate the cause of the crash.Full Article: Tennessee Officials Are Trying To Get To The Bottom Of An Election Night Cyberattack | HuffPost.
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.Full Article: Cyberattack crashes Tennessee county’s website on election night - CNET.
Officials are investigating a cyberattack that crashed the website displaying Knox County election results Tuesday night. Additionally, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett on Wednesday said he has called for a cyber-security contractor to look into the server crash that shut down the county’s website just as polls closed on election night, according to a news release. … Sword & Shield Enterprise Security, a Knox County-based IT security firm, will conduct a root-cause analysis to determine the exact nature of the County server’s shut down, beginning today, the release said. IT Director Richard “Dick” Moran wrote that a preliminary review “noted that extremely heavy and abnormal network traffic was originating from numerous IP addresses associated with numerous geographic locations, both internal and external to this country. Based on my experience, this was highly suggestive of a (denial of service) attack.Full Article: Knox County officials investigating election night cyberattack.
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.Full Article: Cyberattack crashes Knox County election website; votes unaffected.
Tennessee: Hamilton County election administrator: paper ballots, audits help ensure integrity at the polls
As the start of early voting nears and news of Russian interference continues to make headlines, Hamilton County’s administrator of elections said local citizens can feel secure in the practices that protect the integrity of the ballot box. “Hamilton County takes the safeguarding of both our physical and cyber infrastructure very seriously,” Election Administrator Kerry Steelman said via email. “The rigorous system of checks and balances in both the registration and voting process should instill confidence in voters that Hamilton County’s elections will not be compromised.” In an effort to avoid interference, some state officials recently said they’d move away from the use of touch-screen voting machines. Some experts also recently said that audits can confirm there’s no meddling.Full Article: Election administrator: paper ballots, audits help ensure integrity at the polls.
Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen’s campaign for U.S. Senate told the FBI on Thursday that it fears it has been hacked, amid growing concern that candidates in the 2018 election could be targets of cyberattacks. In a letter obtained by The Associated Press, campaign lawyer Robert E. Cooper Jr. wrote that Bredesen’s aides became suspicious when someone pretending to be the campaign’s media buyer asked for money to be wired to an international account. The letter says the person used an email address nearly identical to the actual media buyer’s and knew about an upcoming TV campaign and its proposed dates. Cooper says the campaign hired a cyber-security firm that found the impostor emails were registered through an Arizona-based registrar.Full Article: Ex-Tennessee governor's Senate campaign fears it was hacked.
Tennessee lawmakers have rejected a measure that would’ve required a paper receipt for all ballots cast in the state. In a meeting Tuesday of the Senate’s State and Local Government Committee, legislators voted down a bill intended to create a paper trail for auditors to follow in the event electronic voting machines are hacked. The measure had been opposed by state election officials, who say paper receipts are an unnecessary expense. Machines that spit out paper receipts would have cost Tennessee election commissions about $9.5 million up front, and they would have cost millions more to operate. Mark Goins, the state’s coordinator of elections, says there’s also not much evidence that voting machines are in danger of being hacked.Full Article: Tennessee Lawmakers Reject Plan To Require Paper Trail For Voting | Nashville Public Radio.
Tennessee: Jim Cooper calls for $28 million to address hacking threat for Tennessee voting system | The Tennesseean
Warnings from the national intelligence community point to a “serious threat” to the nation’s voting system, and immediate changes are needed in Tennessee to avoid a compromised 2018 election cycle, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper said. The Democrat told reporters at his Nashville office Friday the country’s six top intelligence chiefs have unanimously acknowledged the U.S. election system, which depends on accuracy at the state and local level, has been targeted and is open to compromise. Cooper called for a paper ballot back-up system to electronic voting machines and for at least $28 million in state-held federal funds to pay for it. He also urged state lawmakers now in session to form a special committee to look into digital security gaps ripe for hacking.Full Article: Jim Cooper calls for $28 million to address hacking threat for Tennessee voting system.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper on Friday urged Tennessee’s Republican-led legislature to use $29 million-plus in federal money to require backup paper ballots for elections, citing concerns from national security experts that paperless systems could be vulnerable to hacking from Russia and others. Though Cooper isn’t sure how much adding a paper trail would cost, the Nashville congressman said the leftover federal Help America Vote Act money could help secure the ballots, possibly in time for the local primaries in May. Tennessee largely uses paperless machines. “We have an opportunity to improve our election system so that it cannot be hacked, so the voters have complete faith in the integrity in the system, so that democracy works well here in Tennessee,” Cooper told reporters Friday.Full Article: US rep: Tennessee should use $29M on backup paper ballots | News | dailyprogress.com.
Pointing to Tennessee’s cellar-dwelling rankings among states when it came to 2014 mid-term elections voter participation, state House Democrats on Friday vowed to renew their push in 2018 to repeal or change GOP-passed laws they charge are aimed at depressing voter turnout. Tennessee is absolutely at the bottom,” Rep. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville, told reporters. In a news conference, Gilmore, a former chair of the Tennessee Black Caucus, blamed a 2011 law requiring would-be voters to have officially issued state or federal government-issued photo identification like a driver’s license to vote. She said it disproportionately impacts women, elderly, college students, black and Hispanic voters.Full Article: Tennessee House Democrats to renew push to change Tennessee voter ID law | Times Free Press.
Tennessee: Shelby County Election Commission Goes to Court in Ranked Choice Controversy | Memphis Daily News
Shelby County Election Commissioners are going to court to settle a conflict over ranked-choice voting. The five-member commission voted unanimously Tuesday, Dec. 12, to file suit against the state election coordinator and the city of Memphis in Davidson County Chancery Court. The purpose is to get a ruling on whether the use of RCV via a 2008 city charter amendment is valid or if a September opinion from state election coordinator Mark Goins saying there can be no use of RCV is valid. The charter referendum is binding on the election commission and so is the legal opinion from Goins.Full Article: Election Commission Goes to Court in RCV Controversy - Memphis Daily News.
Shelby County Elections Administrator Linda Phillips uses the planets to walk people through how ranked choice voting works. Even Pluto is included in the nine-way race, although it is no longer considered a planet. She took the example to the Memphis City Council last week, the only elected body affected by the city charter provision that would have voters rank their choices in a single-member district council race by preference. It does away with later runoff elections in races where no candidate gets a simple majority of the votes cast.Full Article: Ranked Choice Voting Faces Repeal Effort - Memphis Daily News.
The secretary of state’s office is set to officially roll out its new online voter registration system in Tennessee. The new system is already available online but the office will officially announce it next week. The move will put the state’s voter registration into the digital age as Tennessee joins a majority of other states that have already implemented similar systems. “This system meets people where they already are: online,” Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “It will improve accuracy and efficiency for voters and election officials by ensuring there are fewer errors and more accurate voter rolls.”Full Article: Tennessee to roll out online voter registration.
Tennessee: Personal Info of 650,000 Voters Discovered on Electronic Poll Book Sold on Ebay | Gizmodo
When 650 thousand Tennesseans voted in the Memphis area, they probably didn’t expect their personal information would eventually be picked apart at a hacker conference at Caesars Palace Las Vegas. … When US government workers decommission old voting equipment and auction them off to the public, they’re supposed to wipe voter information from the device’s memory. But hackers given access to an ExpressPoll-5000 electronic poll book—the kind of device used to check in voters on Election Day—have discovered the personal records of 654,517 people who voted in Shelby Country, Tennessee. It’s unclear how much of the personal information wasn’t yet public. Some of the records, viewed by Gizmodo at the Voting Village, a collection of real, used voting machines that anyone could tinker with at the DEF CON hacker conference in Las Vegas, include not just name, address, and birthday, but also political party, whether they voted absentee, and whether they were asked to provide identification.Full Article: Personal Info of 650,000 Voters Discovered on Poll Machine Sold on Ebay.
Voters in Tennessee got one step closer Thursday to being able to take a selfie inside a voting booth at the next election. The Senate voted 30-0 in favor of a bill that would allow voters to take photos in a voting booth as long as they don’t take a picture of their ballot, use a flash or noise on their phones or take photos of others. The issue gained national attention last year when Justin Timberlake sparked debate over a little-known state law after he shared a selfie on Instagram that showed him casting his ballot at a church in Germantown, near Memphis.Full Article: Justin Timberlake selfie bill gets OK from Tennessee Senate.
Tennessee: Shelby County Election Commission Puts New Voter Registration System First | Memphis Daily News
Before Shelby County voters get new voting machines, the elections administrator wants a new voter registration system to begin a badly needed upgrade of election technology. “Mostly, we really need a system that I don’t fear is going to crash and burn,” administrator Linda Phillips said. She and the five election commissioners are working on a request for proposals and intend to have the new voter registration system installed and working by June 30, the end of the current fiscal year. The election commission’s budget for the current fiscal year has $1 million available for such a system. “I really do not know,” she said of the exact cost of a new system. “The model in registration systems is moving more toward software than service. So a relatively low upfront price, but you pay an annual maintenance license fee. … I would expect it to be less than $2 million without question.Full Article: Shelby County Election Commission Puts New Voter Registration System First - Memphis Daily News.
A 2015 law banning ballot box selfies does not violate Tennessee voters’ free speech rights, according to a formal opinion issued by the Tennessee attorney general. But the Memphis lawmaker who sought the opinion says he hopes to overturn the law after legislators reconvene in January. Justin Timberlake sparked debate over the little-known law in October, when he shared a selfie with 39 million-plus Instagram followers that showed him casting his ballot at the New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Germantown, near Memphis. Timberlake, who lives in California but recently bought property near Nashville, said he had no idea he was doing anything illegal.Full Article: Attorney general: Ballot box selfie ban constitutional.