Cybersecurity experts have been warning about Georgia’s election systems security for over 10 years. Which is interesting because the Georgia Secretary of State at the time of his first warnings was GOP congressional candidate on the ballot next Tuesday, Karen Handel. She ignored the warnings then and Georgia has continued to ignore the warnings since.
Someone who should be particularly concerned about the center’s security lapses and the use of the touch-screen machines in the upcoming election is Handel, the Republican vying for the 6th Congressional District seat. In 2006, when Handel ran for secretary of state of Georgia, she made the security of the state’s voting systems one of her campaign issues. After her win, she ordered a security review of the systems and the procedures for using them.
Experts at Georgia Tech conducted the review and found a number of security concerns, which they discussed in a report submitted to Handel….
But once they delivered the finished report to Handel, DeMillo says, “We never heard anything more about it.” It’s not clear whether Handel’s office acted on recommendations made in the report. (Handel’s campaign office did not respond to a call for comment.)
They’ve been using an electric touch screen system there since 2002 with experts warning them and even suing to no avail, for the addition of paper receipts. The Georgia election hierarchy has strangely fought every warning of potential election issues.
Researcher Logan Lamb, after hearing about the potential of Russian breaches, looked into the Georgia system which is housed at Kennesaw State University Center. What he found was stunning and alarming.
“I was just looking for PDFs or documents,” he recalls, hoping to find anything that might give him a little more sense of the center’s work. But his curiosity turned to alarm when he encountered a number of files, arranged by county, that looked like they could be used to hack an election. Lamb wrote an automated script to scrape the site and see what was there, then went off to lunch while the program did its work. When he returned, he discovered that the script had downloaded 15 gigabytes of data.
“I was like whoa, whoa. … I did not mean to do that. … I was absolutely stunned, just the sheer quantity of files I had acquired,” he tells Politico Magazine in his first interview since discovering the massive security breach.
It’s even more alarming that GOP election supervisors and state election officials have been dismissive of every warning. Leading one to believe that the flaws in the system are a feature not a bug.
Anything funny happens next Tuesday and all eyes should turn to Georgia’s lax cyber security and the people who were aware of it but did nothing.
By the way today is the last day of early voting and Ossoff is all over the issue of Handel’s inaction on voting system security.