It’s unclear what the New York State Board of Elections has to do with the World Cup, but its website was hacked this morning by Anonymous in a protest against the Brazilian government’s spending of $11 billion to bring the World Cup to the country. The website was down for most of the day, impacting at least dozens of people who tried to visit it and putting Brazil’s World Cup efforts in peril.
As of the evening of December 2, the international network of hacktivists, Anonymous, has successfully hacked the website of Honduras’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE). This came just a few hours after the tribunal announced its willingness to recount the votes and review the official electoral records of the recent presidential elections, held on November 24. In the website, Anonymous Honduras declares “we commit the sin of giving you the benefit of the doubt, even when we are certain that your institutions are useless, and don’t serve anyone but the one that has the money and the power in this country. We can no longer tolerate this and the help of your bribed media, who want the people to stay quiet and consume the process no matter what.”
A clash between the public’s right to know and fears of political persecution will play out when the Federal Election Commission on Thursday takes up a request from a leading tea party group that it be exempt from disclosure laws to protect its financial supporters from harassment. The FEC is set to vote on whether to exempt the Tea Party Leadership Fund (TPLF) from campaign disclosure laws in light of the group’s claims that its donors have faced “sustained harassment and severe hostility” and should have the right to give anonymously. The TPLF, which operates both a traditional political action committee and a “super PAC” for independent political expenditures, is arguing that its donors have been subject to harsh criticism from the federal government and the general public and that having to reveal their identity would only open them to further harassment.
The government’s IT systems withstood a cyber attack which attempted to block the release of election results on Sunday.
Authorities were on alert throughout election day after a group of hackers threatened to disrupt the elections by targeting state websites. A video posted on Saturday on the Internet by a group claiming to be the Cyprus branch of ‘Anonymous’ called on sympathisers to launch the attack at exactly 6pm on Sunday – the designated deadline for the start of the ballot count. Interior Ministry officials claim that these sorts of attacks happen sporadically, while police re-assured the public that it would be extra vigilant during the run-up to the second round of elections this coming Sunday. “There was a DDOS (distributed denial of service) attack, also known as a cyber attack on Sunday, in an attempt to prevent the interior ministry from showing the results but also unauthorised attempts to reach other sites that were related to the elections,” chief official for the Department of Information Technology Services (DITS), Andreas Kyprianou said.
The City of Edmonton will embark on a online election pilot later this month and Strathcona County will no doubt be watching. Despite my generation’s apparent love affair with everything technology, online voting is one of those things that should forever remain a pie-in-the-sky lust. Sort of like flying cars. Sure, flying cars sound nice — unless you realize the safest place to live is in the basement of your home because a car flown by some inebriated driver can come crashing through your roof without warning. Likewise, an online poll can be mucked with without warning. Government rules for rewarding contracts being what they are, the best security the lowest bid can buy will most likely be protecting any online vote. While I believe any bid-winning firm has what it takes to stop most hackers from having fun with the results, not every hacker can be so easily derailed.
One of the most salient criticisms of Americans Elect — a group that bills itself as seeking to “open up the political process” and “change politics as usual” — is its dogged refusal, using the legal shield of its status as a 501c4 corporation, to disclose the names of its financial backers. This matters, in part, because Americans Elect got off the ground with $20 million of seed money given by only 50-some anonymous donors. That’s 50 nameless investors ponying up an average of $400,000 apiece, although, in one rare case in which the name is known, Americans Elect founder and CEO Peter Ackerman has given at least $1.55 million and, according to Bloomberg — the news organization, not the draft Americans Elect presidential candidate — more than $5 million.
The eyes of the world are upon us, but not only to see who is declared the winner of the GOP caucus Tuesday night. Some are trying to see just how the votes get added up. A reader from Florida writes:
While researching the Iowa Caucus process I came across your website. I was just wondering if you were aware that the Iowa GOP has decided to tally the votes in an undisclosed location this year due to an anonymous threat to ’shut down’ the caucus. This is very concerning to me and I was wondering what your take is being that you’re much more familiar with the Iowa election process than I am. I have heard that Iowa is one of the most transparent states in terms of voting, but wouldn’t counting the votes in secret open up the potential for serious vote fraud? Knowing that the Iowa GOP is not very fond of the current front runner in Iowa I am even more suspicious.
Indeed. It’s easy to imagine the whole Republican Party in the corner with Mitt Romney, hoping to hold off the Paulites and the Gingrich disaster, willing to do anything to save their careers from the hoi polloi. Might they even move their vote counting to an undisclosed location? Sure, even their beloved VP hangs out there!
A Christmas scrooge stole credit card information from a Texas-based company Saturday, by hacking into its website. We’ve told you about a cyber threat that could impact the Iowa caucuses on January 3rd. Turns out, this latest internet breach could be affiliated with the same group of hackers, which released credit card information from Stratfor, a think-tank that concentrates on security issues, totaling losses of $1 million.
The group thought to be behind it is called Anonymous. That’s the same one responsible for threats made against the upcoming Iowa caucuses. How the group could hamper the process is unknown. University of Iowa professor, Douglas Jones, has two theories.
Iowa GOP chair Matt Strawn was largely mum when I asked yesterday about a tip I got that the state party was moving the vote-tabulation away from their headquarters to an “undisclosed location.” But after the Iowa GOP HQ was flooded today with questions from Ron Paul backers and conspiracy-minded types about why the Republicans were compiling the votes from the state’s 99 counties in private, the state party’s executive director confirmed that they were going off-site and said it was only to avoid a sabotage.
“The Party is simply moving off-site in the event that protesters or others attempt to disrupt the reporting process by cutting phone lines, etc,” said party ED Chad Olsen. He added: “Every vote is counted. Every vote is reported. The vote-counting process is carried out in public.”
Threats to disrupt the Iowa Republican caucuses next week have prompted state GOP officials to move the vote tabulation to an “undisclosed location,” POLITICO has learned. The state party has not yet told the campaigns exactly where the returns will be added up, only that it will be off-site from the Iowa GOP’s Des Moines headquarters. The 2008 caucus results were tabulated at the state party offices, which sit just a few blocks from the state capitol.
Activist groups including the Occupy movement have indicated that they’ll attempt to interrupt rallies in the closing days before next Tuesday’s caucuses. The AP reported today that Occupy is making plans to even attend some caucuses and vote “no preference,” but not disturb the voting process.
South Carolina has taken steps to protect the security of the electronic systems it will use in its presidential primary following reports that an alleged “hacktivist” group might try to shut down the Iowa caucuses.
The alleged threat comes as attention focuses on the Republican presidential primary’s early nominating states, many of which use online or electronic systems to compile vote counts reported by local elections officials. “Any time you are dealing with an Internet site, you have something that could be compromised,” said Chris Whitmire, a public information officer with the South Carolina Election Commission.
South Carolina employs an online system that logs vote counts entered by elections officials and posts them to the Internet. It has asked for extra vigilance from the Web providers that host the database. “But even in the worst-case scenario, if the site is compromised, we will know it. The actual results on Jan. 21 won’t be touched,” Whitmire said.
As the 2012 presidential campaign swings into full gear, there are concerns that hackers may target voting systems and Websites as a form of political protest. An apparent threat to hack into voting systems and disrupt the vote has the Iowa Republican Party on edge, according to the Associated Press.
The state’s Republican Party is boosting the security of the computer systems it will be using Jan. 3 for the first caucus in the 2012 presidential campaign, AP reported Dec. 19. Party officials were acting in response to a video posted on YouTube calling on Anonymous supporters to “peacefully shut down the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses” to protest the corrupt political system that favors corporations.
Investigators don’t know yet whether the threat is authentic and have not yet confirmed whether the Anonymous hacktivist collective is really planning any protests to prevent the vote. As a loose collective of like-minded hackers, Anonymous doesn’t have an official hierarchy or structure, making it very easy for a single person, or a select few, to claim an attack without most of the group’s participation or knowledge.
With two weeks remaining before Iowa kicks off the 2012 campaign with its first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses, the state Republican Party is taking steps to secure its electronic vote collection system after receiving a mysterious threat to its computers.
A video claiming to be from a collective of computer hackers has jolted party officials with a worst-case scenario: an Iowa caucus marred by hackers who successfully corrupt the database used to gather vote totals and crash the website used to inform the public about results that can shape the campaign for the White House.
While confident in the safeguards protecting the vote count itself, and aware the video may be a hoax, members of the state Republican Party’s central committee told The Associated Press they are taking the threat seriously and have authorized additional security measures to ensure hackers are unable to delay the release of results.
Florida was the joke of tech websites this week after a hacker boasted he tapped the “inside details of Florida voting systems.” Twice in a week, the anonymous Twitter user @Abhaxas posted links to lists of voting-related files.
“Who still believes voting isn’t rigged?” he wrote above one list. “If the United States government can’t even keep their ballot systems secure, why trust them at all? FAIL!”
Except he didn’t breach any voting systems, the Florida Division of Elections says. And a major Web vendor to most of the state’s elections supervisors, VR Systems, doesn’t use the same kind of servers accessed by the hacker.
For the second time in a week, a hacker has broken into systems connected with voting in Florida, stolen data, and released it to the public. The most recent breach occurred after Florida election officials had touted the security of their systems. “Glad you cleaned things up, pretty secure now guys,” said the hacker responsible for the attack–who goes by the name “Abhaxas”–in a post to Pastebin uploaded on Thursday. That post also contained data obtained during the second hack.
We spoke with Chris Sather, Product Management for Network Defense at McAfee about McAfee’s next generation firewalls that analyze relationships and not protocols.
Via Twitter, Abhaxas said that hacking into the servers–using well-known and what would be easy-to-close holes–took him about 10 minutes. Furthermore, he said he had access to all 310 databases on the server, though only publicly released information from two of them.
Voters concerned about the reliability of electronic voting may now have another reason to worry. A hacker known as Abhaxas claimed Saturday to have released data from one of Florida’s internal voting databases.
“Who believes voting isn’t tampered with?” Abhaxas asked Twitter followers.
Data in the file uploaded to Pastbin is dated between 2003 and 2010. One section seems to list candidates from the 2004 Democratic presidential primary. Another section contains the file names of ballots from various years.
It would appear that ThePirateBay is one of the most popular data dumping grounds for scores of hacked data. One of the latest data dump appears to be an ongoing release where data from the Australian 2011 elections are being posted. As of this writing, 5 data dumps have been posted so far.
The AntiSec movement isn’t really tied to any one country or any one or any group of hackers. In a tweet early last month, F1Esc tweeted that he had obtained 76GB of data from the Australian 2011 elections. It wasn’t until more recently that the data was being posted on to BitTorrent site ThePirateBay.
Florida has seen its 2nd leak today, 1st being here with both leaks being done by @Abhaxas via twitter.
This one is from the voting system and consist of candidates , races , poll worker users details, voter stats and is dated upto 2010. Although it may not be totally vital now, it gives an insight to the operations that go on behind the scenes and the people involved.
National: Anonymous Picks Up Where LulzSec Left Off, Targeting Government Servers | International Business Times
After computer hacker group LulzSec announced its retirement after “50 days of lulz,” an Internet rampage, the flame of cyber war seems to be losing fuel. LulzSec apparently jumped back on ship with its old buddy, Anonymous, to continue sailing the “Operation Anti-Sec” against governments.
Operation Anti-Security, an agenda tackled by LulzSec and Anonymous together earlier this month, originally intended to expose corrupt, abusive governments by protesting and combating any and all institutions’ or governments’ attempts to censor or moderate the Internet.
After revealing contents from the Arizona police force, the Anti-Sec team unveiled sensitive content from the servers of a number of governments, including content from the servers of Anguilla, passwords from Brazillian government servers, and the userbase of Zimbabwe. Another batch comes from Australia, but the contents remain vague.