Tech

Great, the FBI Says Hackers Just Breached Our Voting System

Published On 08/29/2016 Published On 08/29/2016

Welp, all those crazy rumors that Russia's plotting to meddle in the November election and hack our voting machines may not be so crazy after all.

According to FBI documents recently obtained by Yahoo, late last month foreign hackers accessed state election system databases in Illinois and Arizona, and managed to steal voter registration data from thousands of citizens. It isn't proof positive that hackers could actually affect the outcome of an election, but it raises some serious questions about how secure the US voting system really is -- especially considering how outrageously outdated many of our polling computers are.

Flickr/The white house

Although the alert -- which was sent out by the FBI's Cyber Division -- doesn't mention whether the attacks were connected, nor link the hackers to any particular country, the FBI is confident it was a foreign attack, according to Yahoo. And while it or may not have originated in Russia, a cybersecurity expert who looked at the document claims one of the eight IP addresses involved has previously popped up in Russian criminal underground hacker forums. 

As a result of the breach, the FBI is urging election officials across the country to step up security systems and protocols, and it prompted the Department of Homeland Security to convene a conference call with election leaders nationwide.

Some hope this will finally convince the Department of Homeland Security to designate state election systems as part of the nation's "critical infrastructure," which would mean they'd require federal protection. And really, it's kind of bonkers to think something so sacred to our republic hasn't been considered critical infrastructure. But until that happens, election officials are strongly encouraged to implement precautionary measures to keep hackers out, like keeping the electronic voting machines disconnected from the internet on voting day, and conducting so-called "vulnerability scans" on its databases.

Experts are downplaying the likelihood of an all-out hack that would upend the presidential election. Still, the incident is spooky considering the recent Russian hack of the DNC, and the strategic bromance Putin has been propagating with Donald Trump. 

It's never too early to start planning your move to the Great White North.

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist and quite surprised Trump hasn't tried to pin this whole debacle on Hillary. Sad!

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