Huddled in the corner of a small room in the Salt Palace Convention Center are a group of hackers and a row of 12 voting machines. The machines, all of which were used during the 2016 election in Utah, are now strewn in pieces across a table as attendees of HackWest’s first annual cybersecurity conference pour over them, searching for vulnerabilities. And they’ve found a pretty major one. Any hacker can enter a voting booth, remove the card reader from the machine, turn off the machine, then power it back on again. Once the voting machine has turned back on, the screen will display a “no card reader” error message. All the hacker has to do from there is pop the card reader back in, and the machine will display the system setup.Full Article: Hackers penetrate voting machines used in 2016 election at SLC cybersecurity conference | KSL.com.
An unusual question is capturing the attention of cyberspecialists, Russia experts and Democratic Party leaders in Philadelphia: Is Vladimir V. Putin trying to meddle in the American presidential election? Until Friday, that charge, with its eerie suggestion of a Kremlin conspiracy to aid Donald J. Trump, has been only whispered. But the release on Friday of some 20,000 stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, many of them embarrassing to Democratic leaders, has intensified discussion of the role of Russian intelligence agencies in disrupting the 2016 campaign. The emails, released first by a supposed hacker and later by WikiLeaks, exposed the degree to which the Democratic apparatus favored Hillary Clinton over her primary rival, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and triggered the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the party chairwoman, on the eve of the convention’s first day. Proving the source of a cyberattack is notoriously difficult. But researchers have concluded that the national committee was breached by two Russian intelligence agencies, which were the same attackers behind previous Russian cyberoperations at the White House, the State Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff last year. And metadata from the released emails suggests that the documents passed through Russian computers. Though a hacker claimed responsibility for giving the emails to WikiLeaks, the same agencies are the prime suspects. Whether the thefts were ordered by Mr. Putin, or just carried out by apparatchiks who thought they might please him, is anyone’s guess.Full Article: As Democrats Gather, a Russian Subplot Raises Intrigue - The New York Times.
The Illinois State Board of Elections’ online voter registration system remained down Thursday afternoon in the wake of a cyberattack last week. The attack on the statewide Illinois Voter Registration System occurred July 12, and the system was shut off July 13 as a precaution once the board realized the severity of the attack, according to a message sent to local election authorities. Hackers exploited “a chink in the armor in one small data field in the online registration system,” said Ken Menzel, the board’s general counsel.Full Article: Hackers penetrate Illinois voter registration database | State/Region | thesouthern.com.
Arizona voters deserve to know if their personal information on file with the state of Arizona remains safe from identify thieves. If there is any threat to the security of the voter registration database, it deserves not only an investigation but full disclosure of the outcome. Right now, every voter in the state has legitimate reason to at least wonder if their personal information has been compromised. A couple of weeks ago, the FBI investigated a hacking threat against the state’s voter registration database and deemed the threat credible, labeling it an “8 out of 10” on the severity scale. The database contains not only names and addresses but also driver license numbers, partial Social Security numbers and other personal information that identity thieves can match with other partial personal information and commit fraud. As the investigation progressed, the state shut down its voter registration website.Full Article: Our View: Potential voter data hack gets whimper of an explanation | Opinion | havasunews.com.
United Kingdom: Second referendum petition: Inquiry removes at least 77,000 fake signatures, as hackers claim responsibility for ‘prank’ | Telegraph
Parliamentary authorities have removed around 77,000 allegedly fake signatures from an online petition which calls for a re-run of the Brexit referendum – with hackers taking responsibility for adding thousands of counterfeit names. It follows a formal inquiry launched less than three hours earlier, amid claims some of the more than three and a half million signatures it has gained since Friday may be fraudulent. A statement posted on the House of Commons’ petitions committee Twitter account on Sunday afternoon said: “We are investigating allegations of fraudulent use of the petitions site. Signatures found to be fraudulent will be removed”.Full Article: Second referendum petition: Inquiry removes at least 77,000 fake signatures, as hackers claim responsibility for 'prank'.
National: Russian government hackers penetrated DNC, stole opposition research on Trump | The Washington Post
Russian government hackers penetrated the computer network of the Democratic National Committee and gained access to the entire database of opposition research on GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, according to committee officials and security experts who responded to the breach. The intruders so thoroughly compromised the DNC’s system that they also were able to read all email and chat traffic, said DNC officials and the security experts. The intrusion into the DNC was one of several targeting American political organizations. The networks of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were also targeted by Russian spies, as were the computers of some GOP political action committees, U.S. officials said. But details on those cases were not available. A Russian Embassy spokesman said he had no knowledge of such intrusions. Some of the hackers had access to the DNC network for about a year, but all were expelled over the past weekend in a major computer cleanup campaign, the committee officials and experts said.Full Article: Russian government hackers penetrated DNC, stole opposition research on Trump - The Washington Post.
One day after a number of documents supposedly stolen during a hack on the Democratic National Committee servers were posted online, a cybersecurity expert says it is a clear act of “cyberwar.” “It’s really strange for a Russian intelligence agency,” Dave Aitel, an ex-NSA research scientist who’s now CEO of Immunity, told Tech Insider. “That’s straight up cyberwar.” At least two different groups associated with the Russian government were found inside the networks of the DNC over the past year, reading emails, chats, and downloading private documents, as was reported on Tuesday. The hack, which was investigated by the FBI and cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike, was linked to Russia through a lengthy technical analysis, which was detailed on the firm’s blog. Aitel called the analysis “pretty dead on.”Full Article: Immunity CEO Dave Aitel calls Russia hack on DNC 'cyberwar' - Tech Insider.
A series of data breaches overseas are spurring concerns that hackers could manipulate elections in the United States. Since December, hundreds of millions of voters in the U.S., the Philippines, Turkey and Mexico have had their data discovered on the web in unprotected form. In some instances, legitimate security researchers found the information, but in others, malicious hackers are suspected of pilfering the data for criminal purposes.The data breaches are raising questions as the U.S. considers whether to move toward electronic balloting. More people than ever are using the internet to register to vote and to request mail-in ballots. Some states have even become vote-by-mail only in recent years. “If you can’t keep the voter registration records safe, what makes you think you can keep the votes safe?” asked Pamela Smith, president of election watchdog Verified Voting.For a politically inclined hacker, insecure voter data could “very easily” create a pathway to “massive” voter fraud, said Joseph Kiniry, CEO of Free & Fair, which advocates for secure digital election systems. “If you can go in there and delete rows based on someone’s name or political affiliation, we will have a massively screwed up election process on the day,” he said.Full Article: Election fraud feared as hackers target voter records | TheHill.
National: Voter ID Laws May Have Actually Increased The Likelihood Of Voter Fraud—By Hackers | Fast Company
Over the past 16 years, only 10 cases of voter impersonation—out of 146 million registered voters—have ever been identified. And yet each election, a vocal political contingent made up primarily of Republicans complains about an alleged epidemic of voter fraud and impersonation. To combat it, they propose—and in many cases successfully pass—laws requiring voters to provide verification of their identity with an ID card, along with verbal confirmation of various pieces of personal data, before they are permitted to vote. As election officials become more reliant on electronic databases, the potential for hackers to commit voter manipulation and election fraud has gone way up. But it’s these very voter ID laws that are partly to blame, despite legislators’ claims that they would make elections safer, according to Joseph Kiniry, CEO of Free and Fair, a provider of secure election services and systems. “The best thing [hackers] could do is to screw up that data prior to the election,” says Kiniry.Full Article: Voter ID Laws May Have Actually Increased The Likelihood Of Voter Fraud—By Hackers | Fast Company | Business + Innovation.
Mexico: Millions of Mexican voter records leaked to Amazon’s cloud, says infosec expert | Ars Technica
A leaked database containing the voting records of millions of Mexican voters has been discovered by a security researcher. Chris Vickery, who works for MacKeeper, said he first spotted the Mexican voters’ roll—containing the records of 87 million voters in Mexico—on April 14. Vickery told Ars that he found the database with Shodan, a search engine that can find pretty much anything connected to the Internet. “The search term that returned this database was just ‘port:27017’ (the default MongoDB port),” Vickery said. “There really was nothing special about the search terms. It was just a stroke of luck that I saw it and followed up.” He added that the database was not accessible over HTTP: “You had to use a MongoDB client, but all you needed was the IP address. There was nothing protecting it at all.”Full Article: Millions of Mexican voter records leaked to Amazon’s cloud, says infosec expert | Ars Technica UK.
A database containing the personal information of millions Mexican voters was discovered online by a security researcher earlier this month on an unprotected server. The discovery represents a major breach in private information for upwards of 87 million Mexican voters. The database was discovered without even password protection by researcher Chris Vickery on April 14th, (who had previously uncovered breaches for Hello Kitty users and private medical data) who alerted Mexican authorities. The National Electoral Institute verified the list’s authenticity, and had it removed from the Amazon Web Servers it was discovered on.Full Article: Mexico's Entire Voter Database Was Leaked to the Internet.
The personal information of more than 50 million Filipinos has been exposed in a breach of the Philippine electoral commission. According to security researchers at Trend Micro, the hack contains a huge amount of very sensitive personal data, including the fingerprints of 15.8 million individuals and passport numbers and expiry dates of 1.3 million overseas voters. The website of the Commission on Elections, Comelec, was initially hacked on March 27, by a group identifying itself as Anonymous Philippines, the local fork of the wider hacker collective. The homepage was defaced with a message accusing Comelec of not doing enough to ensure the security of voting machines used in the country’s upcoming election.Full Article: Philippine electoral records breached in 'largest ever' government hack | Technology | The Guardian.
The breach could be the biggest-yet hack of government-held data, according to Trend Micro. A breach of the Philippines’ Commission on Elections (Comelec) affecting about 55 million people could be the largest hack of government-held data ever, according to security specialists. Government representatives have downplayed the seriousness of the breach, which took place late last month, but IT security firm Trend Micro said its analysis of the exposed data found that it included sensitive information such as passport numbers and fingerprint records. “Every registered voter in the Philippines is now susceptible to fraud and other risks,” Trend said in an advisory. “With 55 million registered voters in the Philippines, this leak may turn out as the biggest government related data breach in history.”Full Article: Hackers Expose Massive Philippines Voter Database.
A cyber-attack on the website of the Philippines Commission on Elections (Comelec) has resulted in personally identifiable information (PII) of roughly 55 million people being leaked online. While there are no exact details on the number of affected people, it appears that hackers managed to grab the entire voter database, which includes information on the 54.36 million registered voters for the 2016 elections in the Philippines. Information on voters abroad also leaked, along with other sensitive data. Should the data in this leak prove genuine, it would make the breach one of the largest so far this year, on par with the recent hack of a database apparently containing details of almost 50 million Turkish citizens, which determined Turkey’s authorities to launch a probe into the incident. It would also be the largest breach after the Office of Personnel Management attack last year.Full Article: 55 Million Exposed After Hack of Philippine Election Site | SecurityWeek.Com.
The official website of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was hacked Sunday night, more than a month before the May 9 polls, raising fears that the voting machines may also be compromised. The poll body’s database was leaked online after hackers defaced its website, www.comelec.gov.ph. Comelec officials, however, allayed public fears about the security of the automated election system (AES) after the hacking. The database was published on two mirror sites by a hacker group affiliated with Anonymous Philippines. The hackers urged the Comelec to implement the security features of the vote counting machines. The group said the database has a file size of around 340 gigabytes, with some of the tables supposedly encrypted by the Comelec. “But we have the algorithm to decrypt those data,” the hackers said. “What happens when the electoral process is so mired with questions and controversies? Can the government still guarantee that the sovereignty of the people is upheld? We request the implementation of the security features on the PCOS (precinct count optical scan) machines,” said Anonymous.Full Article: Comelec website hacked | Headlines, News, The Philippine Star | philstar.com.
Is the Supervisor of Elections computer system vulnerable to hackers? Dan Sinclair, who is running against Sharon Harrington, says it is. In a FOX 4 exclusive, Sinclair and his team show how they were able to infiltrate one of the Supervisor of Elections servers. Using a structured query languange.injection, Sinclair and David Levin were able to gain immediate access to a server. From there, they collected the passwords for everyone that works in the Supervisor of Elections office for Lee County.Full Article: Hacking into Supervisors of Elections Office - Fox 4 Now WFTX Fort Myers/Cape Coral.
Alleged voting records of millions of American citizens have been uploaded to the dark web on a site affiliated with a well-known cybercrime forum. Although the information is not particularly sensitive in its own right, its presence on the site shows that even easily obtainable personal data can be of interest to hackers. The datasets appear to include voters’ full names, dates of birth, the date they registered to vote, addresses, local school districts, and several other pieces of information. The dumps also include voting records from previous elections and political affiliations. The two largest files are 1.2 GB and 1 GB, respectively, and each contain at least a million entries. The folder containing the files is called “US_Voter_DB,” though Motherboard could not independently verify the contents’ legitimacy. It’s not entirely clear where the data was sourced from. On December 28 last year, news site CSO Online reported that a database configuration issue had left 191 million voter records exposed to the open internet. That data was discovered by security researcher Christopher Vickery, who found his own personal information within the dump.Full Article: Hackers Are Sharing Reams of US Voter Data on the Dark Web | Motherboard.
It’s a sad feature of contemporary life that data breaches are as common as changes in the weather. Still, the news that a misconfigured database resulted in the exposure of about 191 million registered voters’ personal information is incredibly alarming. For years, skeptical political theorists have warned that, although new technology held great potential for voting, it came with many potential threats to voter privacy and security. Unfortunately, some of these valid concerns were hijacked by conspiracy theorists, especially after a notorious series of scandals were linked to Diebold voting machines in the 2004 presidential election. But given this week’s news, it’s time to return to the question of how technology can compromise voter security, with an eye to developing constructive solutions.Full Article: Voter data breach shows need for higher security thresholds - San Francisco Chronicle.
First and last names. Recent addresses and phone numbers. Party affiliation. Voting history and demographics. A database containing this information from 191 million voter records was mysteriously published over the last week, the latest example of personal voter data becoming freely available, alarming privacy experts who say the information can be used for phishing attacks, identity theft and extortion. No one knows who built the database, or precisely where all the data came from, and whether its disclosure resulted from an inadvertent release or from hacks. The disclosure was discovered by an information technology specialist, Chris Vickery, who quickly alerted the authorities and published his findings on Databreaches.net. NationBuilder, a nonpartisan political data firm, has said it may have been the source of some of the data, although the actual database that was released was not the company’s.Full Article: Millions of Voter Records Posted, and Some Fear Hacker Field Day - The New York Times.
A group of Chinese hackers have targeted a Taiwanese news organizations and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party in order to get the information on upcoming presidential and legislative election like the policies and speeches from the leaders participating in the elections. This report is the second part of the one revealed by FireEye last week which exposed China spying on the Japanese government using Dropbox. China was also blamed for spying on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong with an Android spyware disguised as an OccupyCentral app to keep an eye on the protesters. FireEye in August 2015 caught Chinese hackers spying on Tibetan activists and as well as dozens of organizations in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan. The hackers attacked their targets through phishing emails; one of the emails had this subject line: “DPP’s Contact Information Update,” which indicated this to be a state-sponsored attack from a group known as “APT16” according to the security research team “FireEye”.Full Article: Chinese Hackers Caught Spying on Taiwan Prior To Upcoming Elections.