The FBI issued a “flash alert” to warn election officials in the country earlier this month after foreign hackers breached two state election databases. The first cyberattack in Illinois may have left voter information vulnerable to hackers while a second attempted attack, which was not successful in acquiring data, took place in Arizona.
According to Illinois State Board of Election officials, the hack in Illinois started in July and may have compromised the last four digits of Social Security numbers, names, birthdays, addresses and drivers’ license numbers of nearly 200,000 voters. "It looks to be fewer than 200,000 [names]" said Ken Menzel, general counsel for the elections board, to The Chicago Tribune. "We say that the system was compromised in this context, that it's been accessed. We're very confident nothing was added, deleted or altered."
Meanwhile, the hackers managed to introduce malicious software to the voter registration system in Arizona. After being alerted by the FBI, the Arizona Department of Administration reportedly took their voting registration offline and were able to limit the data stolen.
According to Yahoo News, the FBI’s Cyber Division have called on election officials to “enhance the security of their computer systems” and the alert suggests Russian state-sponsored hackers could be the culprits.
“The FBI is requesting that states contact their Board of Elections and determine if any similar activity to their logs, both inbound and outbound, has been detected,” reads the alert, reports Yahoo News. “Attempts should not be made to touch or ping the IP addresses directly.”
The FBI has not made a concrete announcement on its part regarding the cyberattacks.
"While we cannot comment on specific alerts, what I can say is that in furtherance of public-private partnerships, the FBI routinely advises private industry of various cyber threat indicators observed during the course of our investigations,” said FBI spokesperson Jillian Stickels. “This data is provided in order to help systems administrators guard against the actions of persistent cyber criminals."