BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The FBI is warning that the tradition of American voting could be under attack by computer hackers.
Two states have already seen security breeches, WJZ’s Alex DeMetrick reports.
In order to guarantee a fair election, certain information is collected from voters. It’s standard practice from Maryland to California.
“Your driver’s license number, partial Social Security may be in there, so there’s a lot of sensitive information that’s important to protect,” says Kim Alexander, President of the California Voter Foundation.
And it’s prompted the FBI to take the unusual step of warning election agencies to beef up protection.
The Illinois and Arizona election systems have been hacked, possibly by a foreign government.
“This is something that affects confidence in our voting system,” according to Nicholas Weaver, a security researcher.
Cybersecurity in Maryland watches for attacks to protect three critical systems: Voter registration data, voting machines and the state’s online voter system.
But that last system has Dr. Michael Greenberger of the University of Maryland’s Homeland Security Center worried.
“It is far too vulnerable to hacking by bad actors who seek to compromise the integrity of Maryland elections,” Greenberger said in a statement.
Maryland went from electronic touch screen voting back to paper ballots this year, a safer system according to Weaver.
“Some states use purely electronic systems that every security expert on the planet finds terrifyingly insecure.”
There’s also protection in numbers, with more than 8,000 voting districts.
According to the National Association of Secretaries of State, “the idea of a national hack of some sort is almost ridiculous because there is no national system.”
But the FBI is warning hackers are likely probing what they can of the American way of voting.
After all, the cyber probe in Illinois is the first confirmed case of a successful hack of an election agency.