Ransomware impacts Georgia’s voter signature database used in 2020 election

The attack on Hall County in Georgia is the first instance of ransomware attack impacting election infrastructure in 2020.

By · Oct 26, 2020 . 5min read

Georgia Ransomware attack news

The key voting infrastructure of a county in Georgia was prone to a ransomware attack targeting local government networks. With the voter signature database down, Hall County officials were dependent on a state database and manual checks when handling absentee ballots. According to CNN, the incident signifies the first known case of a ransomware attack targeting election infrastructure in the 2020 election. Ransomware is a kind of malware which incapacitates databases and other electronic systems. Hackers then demand a ransom, customarily in Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency, to restore functionality. 

The attack impacts voter signature database and voting precinct map.

The government of Hall County, Georgia, reported a ransomware attack on its public page on October 7. Profound effects of the attack were mainly on the county’s voter signature database and voting precinct map. Nevertheless, it is seen that the county is in the process of producing affected systems back online. This includes the map and database. According to Georgia’s county government, the hack affected critical systems in the Hall County Government networks, including obstruction of phone services.

However, the phone services are partly on the track. However, but it didn’t specify other services. The attackers were not targeting Hall County’s voting systems particularly. However, they ended up disrupting various county services. It includes phone and email. 

However, concerns have been arising around the threat that ransomware may pose to the U.S. presidential election for weeks. The concern arises with security firm NTT alert last month that criminal entities may have already penetrated in key government networks and could be waiting to make destruction closer to the election.

On Oct.12, Microsoft declared it had agitated the significant ransomware network Trickbot. It was invoking political movements like Black Lives Matter to dupe victims into downloading malware. The IT conglomerate is also generously providing its security products to organizations involved in the election.

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