Foreign computer hackers may have compromised the security of U.S. election systems in at least two states, according to a leaked FBI alert sent out just weeks ahead of the presidential election.
In a "flash" alert titled “Targeting Activity Against State Board of Election Systems" and dated Aug. 18, the FBI's cyberdivision said that in late June "an unknown actor scanned a state's Board of Election website for vulnerabilities." It cited an incident of "data exfiltration," which, Yahoo News reported, included voter registration data.
The document itself did not name any particular state whose election system was compromised, but sources who spoke with Yahoo said the two affected states were Arizona and Illinois. The Illinois incident reportedly resulted in the exfiltration of at least 200,000 voters' personal information. The state shut down voter registration for 10 days in July. The Arizona incident, on the other hand, did not result in the theft of any personal information, Yahoo reported.
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson held a conference call with state election officials Aug. 15 to offer the department's help on upholding the integrity of U.S. elections.
“It was an eye opener,” one FBI official reportedly told Yahoo. “We believe it’s kind of serious, and we’re investigating.”
Rich Barger, chief intelligence officer for the cybersecurity firm ThreatConnect, echoed the FBI official, calling it a cause for concern.
“This is a big deal," Barger said. "Two state election boards have been popped, and data has been taken.
"This certainly should be concerning to the common American voter," Barger added.
Follow the author of this story on Twitter and Facebook: