Georgia voter information hack not malicious, officials say

A breach of the Kennesaw State University (KSU) Center for Election Systems was not malicious, according to the Georgia university.

Last month's hack raised alarms because the center handles much of the infrastructure for federal and state elections in Georgia. The center designs the ballots, houses the voter rolls and tests all voting machines used by the state. 

According to the press statement from university on Friday, the FBI determined the hacker was actually a security researcher whose identity has not been released. There is "no indication of any illegal activity and no personal information was misused following unauthorized access of a dedicated server for the Center for Election Systems," the school added.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in mid-March that a researcher had warned the Center for Election Systems about security flaws in its internet-connected servers before last year's elections. That same researcher may be involved in the hack, the newspaper reported late last week

Critical systems at the center, including those storing voter rolls, are not connected to the internet. 

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“We have already begun conversations with experts at Georgia Tech and with an outside firm to ensure that all of our systems are secured and meet best practice standards,” said KSU President Sam Olens in a statement on Friday. “We greatly appreciate the speed and dedication of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in helping us resolve this issue.”

The university added that it believes that no student records were accessed in the breach. 

"We are pleased to learn that FBI officials have completed the investigation at KSU, and we appreciate their dedication in resolving this case," said the office of Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp.