The presidential election is taking an unusual and potentially ominous turn:
Yahoo News/Michael Isikoff: The FBI has uncovered evidence that foreign hackers penetrated two state election databases in recent weeks, prompting the bureau to warn election officials across the country to take new steps to enhance the security of their computer systems, according to federal and state law enforcement officials.
The FBI warning, contained in a “flash” alert from the FBI’s Cyber Division, a copy of which was obtained by Yahoo News, comes amid heightened concerns among U.S. intelligence officials about the possibility of cyberintrusions, potentially by Russian state-sponsored hackers, aimed at disrupting the November elections … the FBI Cyber Division issued a potentially more disturbing warning, titled “Targeting Activity Against State Board of Election Systems.” … the “exfiltration,” or theft, of voter registration data … targeting by suspected foreign hackers of voter registration databases in Arizona and Illinois.
The Arizona attack was more limited, involving malicious software that was introduced into its voter registration system but no successful exfiltration of data, a state official said.
“This is a big deal,” said Rich Barger, chief intelligence officer for ThreatConnect. “Two state election boards have been popped, and data has been taken. This certainly should be concerning to the common American voter.” Barger noted that one of the IP addresses listed in the FBI alert has surfaced before in Russian criminal underground hacker forums. He also said the method of attack on one of the state election systems — including the types of tools used by the hackers to scan for vulnerabilities and exploit them — appears to resemble methods used in other suspected Russian state-sponsored cyberattacks.
Experts say the hackers could also have been common cybercriminals hoping to steal personal data on state voters for fraudulent purposes, such as obtaining bogus tax refunds.