Illinois online voter registry hacked; voter records taken

Illinois online voter registry hacked; voter records taken
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The Illinois State Board of Elections online voter registration has been hacked, local media confirmed with a board official. 

Earlier, McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael posted a letter to Facebook she claimed was sent to election authorities from Kyle Thomas, the director of voting and registration systems for the board of elections

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While the letter says the attackers retrieved voter records, it makes clear attackers were limited in what they accessed. 

“We have found no evidence that they added, changed, or deleted any information in the database. Their efforts to obtain voter signature images and voter history were unsuccessful,” the letter said.

The letter also explains the attacks — or the clean up — had caused outages in online voting for the past week. 

The investigation into the breach is ongoing.

“We’re in the process of analyzing the tracks left by the attack,” Ken Menzel, general counsel, told the The Southern Illinoisan.

The attackers took advantage of a programming flaw in the website’s database. The attack, known as a “SQL injection,” occurs in databases using the SQL programming language. 

Unless a programmer specifically prevents it, SQL databases can be tricked into running commands entered by any website visitor. It is a very common attack. 

“We are in the process of determining the exact number of voter records and specific names of all individuals affected,” the letter says.