Hackers viewed the information of more than 14,000 Galesburg residents in the state of Illinois’ voter registration database last year — more than any other Illinois location. Staff from the Illinois State Board of Elections provided an update to the Illinois Senate’s Subcommittee on Cybersecurity on Thursday, revealing that in last summer’s cyberattack on the state’s database, Galesburg records had been viewed more than those from elsewhere in Illinois. Kyle Thomas, executive director of the board, and Kevin Turner, IT director for the board, said the board sent letters to 14,121 Galesburg residents last fall to notify them that some aspect of their information had been viewed. The hacked information included names, birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers and the last four digits of social security numbers.
“When you enter information into a queue, normally they put a backstop on it where you can’t enter any additional information, and the (Illinois) State Board of Elections didn’t have that backstop,” said Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Tinley Park, chairman of the cybersecurity subcommittee. “So you can send massive amounts of information through that portal, and that’s where (the hackers) got in.”
Despite the amount of information viewed, the hackers had not specifically targeted Galesburg. Hastings said as the hackers were phishing in the system, they came across a nine-digit voter ID code that just happened to fall in Galesburg.
Even stranger, the investigation thus far shows that the hackers only looked at the information in the database. They did not make any additions, deletions or other modifications to the information.