Foreign hackers have invaded at least two state election databases, according to the FBI.
The systems were penetrated within recent weeks, and the FBI has warned election officials all across the county to beef up security of their computers.
Concerns about the possibility of Russian hackers trying to disrupt the November elections prompted Jeh Johnson, Homeland Security Secretary, to hold a conference call on August 15 with state election officials, offering to help make the voting systems more secure, even though he claimed they were not aware of any “specific threat.”
However, just three days later, the FBI issued a warning bulletin, saying they were already investigating two specific threats in two states. The two states were not named, but sources say it was in reference to hacked databases in Arizona and Illinois.
In Illinois, the hackers managed to grab personal data on about 200,000 voters in July and officials had to shut down the system for 10 days.
In Arizona, malicious software was added to the system, but the hackers aren’t believed to have obtained any data.
Yahoo News said the FBI is looking for signs that the hackers may have tried to get into more than just the two states identified. They said the two attacks came from eight separate IP addresses, and at least one of the IP addresses has showed up before in Russian hacker forums.
Officials are concerned that a “full blown” cyberattack could disrupt the entire election. In 40 states, voters are allowed to fill out a paper ballot, which is scanned by computers – so the paper ballot is a backup.
Six states and parts of four other states the most vulnerable as they rely solely on touchscreen voting. This includes a large portion of Pennsylvania – a critical battleground state.
Military and overseas voters are allowed to vote online in many states as well.
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