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Election Day problems in Champaign County may be caused by cyber attack | Main stories

CHAMPAGNE, IL. (WAND) – As thousands of voters headed to the polls on Election Day, some voters in Champaign County found themselves waiting longer than usual. Illinois State Election Commission spokesman Mike Dietrich said they became aware of the issue through social media.

“Alleged Cyber ​​Attack in Champaign County. We found out about it actually through social networks,” Dietrich said.

A security team working with the Illinois State Police came across a tweet from Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons saying an attack had occurred. Angela Patton, Deputy Chief Secretary, also told WAND News, sending the following statement:

“Champaign County Services is aware of connectivity issues and the performance of the computer servers that are being affected. The secretary’s office believes that this is due to cyber attacks on the network and servers. Over the past month, the Champaign County Clerk’s website has been the target of multiple D-DOS Attacks, fortunately, enhanced security and the response of the Clerk’s IT team prevented these attacks from succeeding and the Clerk’s website remains secure. No data or information was compromised and the election was secure.

These cyber attacks are a strategic and coordinated attempt to undermine and destabilize our democratic process. The goal is to discourage you from voting. Please don’t fall victim to this. The Clerk’s Office is committed to ensuring that every voter in Champaign County has access to a fair, free and accessible election. Please stay in line! Election judges and staff are doing their best to process voters in accordance with the requirements of election law while preventing these attacks. We appreciate your patience and commitment to our democratic process. This is a developing situation and we will have more information as it becomes available. Let me reiterate that we are committed to ensuring that every voter has the opportunity to cast their vote, so please stay in line.”

After learning about it through social media, the State Election Commission offered to help the seat.

“Check their system, run it. Maybe see if it really was a malicious attack and what the source might have been. We offered them whatever resources we could. We have not received a response from them in this regard. We did ask them for information and they provided some information, but it wasn’t enough for us to determine if there was a cyber attack,” Dietrich said.

While the alleged cyber attack did not affect voter data, it did slow down the voter voting process.

“A cyber attack will not affect your vote. Tabulators are never connected to the Internet, nor is the computer hardware used to program these tablets. This attack was slowing down their voter registration system,” Dietrich said.

Experts say that such attacks are more common than one would like to think, and they are easy to carry out. BLH Computers President Brian Dickerson says you can do it with your cell phone.

“This type of attack is very common. This is called a denial of service attack. Attack a specific IP address and what that will do is cause congestion. You can do it from your smartphone, you pay it in bitcoins and you’re done and you’re gone,” Dickerson said.

Federal authorities are investigating the incident to determine if an assault took place and, if so, who carried it out. WAND will continue to update as more information becomes available.

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