Hall County, located in Georgia and a few hours away from Atlanta has made it official that the ransomware attack that took place on its government servers on October 7th,2020 might have also impacted the election infrastructure of the state to a certain extent.
Thus, with this surprising revelation, Georgia County happens to be the first US election infrastructure that could have hit by a ransomware attack as more details are expected to come into light by Tuesday next week.
Sources reporting to our Cybersecurity Insiders state that the county’s voter signature database, as well as the voting map hosted on the website of Hall County, were severely impacted.
“However, the only positive news about the attack is that it has in no way impacted the voting process of the election network”, says Katie Crumley, the spokeswoman of Hall County.
Ransomware is a kind of malware that encrypts the files on a database and blocks their access until a ransom is paid added Ms. Crumley.
There is no strong evidence that the attackers had only targeted the election infrastructure as other services like the county’s phone and email services were also disrupted. Thus, the speculation that it was a state-sponsored ransomware attack gets ruled out.
Brett Callow, a security researcher at Emsisoft stated that the attack could be a warning call to those holding elections or a kind of test set-up to launch a larger attack on a public or private entity.
So, election officials and all government authorities should be extra cautious while handling the infrastructure and chose never to click on links sent through emails from unknown senders.
Note- Last month, the FBI in association with the CIA has issued a press statement that a hackers group from Iran has stolen email addresses of some federal agents to launch a serious cyberattack on the election infrastructure to interfere in the election procedure or influence the US 2020 Poll results.