Safety and Security

Tennessee Election Website Went Offline In Cyberattack


In a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack this week, the website of a county election commission in Tennessee went offline during a mayoral primary. Despite the disruption, Knox County reported that the cyberattack did not impact the results of the election, TechCrunch reported.

“Tonight, our web servers suffered a successful denial-of-service attack,” Knox County wrote on Twitter on Tuesday (May 1). “Election results were not affected, as our election machines are never connected to the internet.”

Even though the hack didn’t affect the results of the election, the county is looking for answers. Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett said he wants to find out what caused the incident to prevent future attacks.

“Although the crash did not affect the vote tallies or the integrity of the election, this is not something that should happen,” Burchett said in a statement. “I want to know what happened, and I think an independent review will help to determine that so we can move forward and work to prevent similar issues in the future.”

In a preliminary report, Knox County’s IT Director Dick Moran “noted that extremely heavy and abnormal network traffic was originating from numerous IP addresses associated with numerous geographic locations, both internal and external to this country,” according to the county.

In March, hackers managed to break into Baltimore’s dispatch system that supports emergency calls. Baltimore CIO Frank Johnson had called the hack a “limited breach,” Reuters reported.

That hack came about a week after Atlanta experienced a “ransomware” attack that impacted some city services, such as bill collections and airport WiFi.  Lisa Bender, a department spokeswoman, would not specify the impacts of the breach at the time but did say the department has had to complete some tasks offline.

Beyond Atlanta and Baltimore, a virus shut down the entire network of a county in Ohio back in 2017. In that case, a financial demand was made to restore everything back to normal, according to TechCrunch.


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