Cyber Round Up: Hackers Breach Election Systems; FBI Says Foreign Hackers Penetrated Election Systems; Of Course Everyone’s Already Using the Leaked NSA Exploits

  • Officials: Hackers Breach Election Systems in IL, AZ (CNN): according to a recent CNN report hackers successfully breached election system databases in Illinois and Arizona.  CNN reports that hackers were able to access and compromise 200,000 personal voter records.  However, the Board of Elections stated that they have a high level of confidence that none of the data was modified, according to the article.  CNN reported that the breached database included names, addresses, sex, birthdays, and drivers’ license numbers on 15,000,000 individuals.  The CNN article indicated that Arizona’s statewide voting registration system was taken offline after the FBI determined there was a credible cyber threat to the voter registration system.  Apparently, the username and password of a county election official was posted and available online; however there appears to be no evidence of any data compromise or malware within the database, according to the CNN article.  The CNN article goes on to say that election databases are particularly attractive targets for hackers since they contain personal information that can be combined with information gleaned from additional sources in order to engage in identify theft and financial crimes.  The full text of the article can be found here.


  • FBI says Foreign Hackers Penetrated State Election Systems (Yahoo! News): In a related article, Michael Isikoff with Yahoo News reported that following the FBI’s investigation which revealed that foreign hackers had penetrated two unnamed [editor’s note: see above] state election databases, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson had a conference call with state elections officials and offered DHS’ expertise and assistance to help ensure that voting systems were secure.  The article also indicates that the FBI Cyber Division issued an alert “Targeting Activity Against State Board of Election Systems.”  The FBI bulletin identifies eight IP addresses from which attacks were sourced and further requests that states contact their Board of Elections to see if any similar activity has been detected, according to the article.  The full text of the article is here.
  • Of Course Everyone’s Already Using the Leaked NSA Exploits (Wired): Lily Hay Newman writes in Wired that the National Security Agency (“NSA”) hacking tools that were leaked by the Shadow Brokers are allegedly already being utilized by people trying to exploit vulnerabilities.  The Wired article also states that a number of the zero day exploits that were exposed have been patched or workarounds have been introduced, however those involve positive actions that must be undertaken and consequently until the patches are installed or workarounds undertaken these systems will remain vulnerable.  The full text of the article is here.

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One Response to “Cyber Round Up: Hackers Breach Election Systems; FBI Says Foreign Hackers Penetrated Election Systems; Of Course Everyone’s Already Using the Leaked NSA Exploits”

  1. […] above, a private report linked Russia to the recent hacks into state election systems that this blog has recently covered.   The McClatchy DC article said that in addition to attempting to undermine […]

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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. She is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

Anna Maria Castillois 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography