Some Mississippi websites were overwhelmed on Election Day; the state says the voting system is secure

Mississippi government websites experienced outages amid a flood of malicious traffic on Election Day, but officials said the voting system remained secure despite broader fears from hackers seeking to sow doubt or disrupt national electoral processes.

Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson said his team and the state’s Department of Information Technology spotted government websites affected by distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks that were overwhelming users. Internet targets with a flood of traffic.

“An abnormally large increase in traffic volume due to DDoS activity has periodically rendered the public side of our websites inaccessible this afternoon,” Watson’s office said Tuesday evening. “We want to be extremely clear and reassure Mississippians that our electoral system is secure and has not been compromised.”

The Office of the Mississippi Secretary of State told The Washington Times on Wednesday that it does not yet have confirmation as to who was responsible for the malicious cyber activity.

Mr Watson posted a tweet indicating there was a Russian connection. Shortly before midnight on Wednesday, Mr Watson said his team’s resolve had grown stronger as the cyberattack escalated.

“To my team, congratulations! Proud of our hard work today. (2/2),” Mr. Watson said on Twitter. “MS 1, Russia 0.”

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Mississippi wasn’t the only state that election officials suggested had been tested by DDoS attacks.

Illinois’ Champaign County Clerk and Recorder Aaron Ammons said Tuesday that his office’s website faced cyberattacks in the run-up to Election Day, in response to a disgruntled voter on Twitter.

“Our website has been under constant attack over the past month and we have been able to maintain the site,” Ammons said on Twitter through the county clerk’s account. “We believe the issue today is due to an attack by our VR provider. We are working with them to resolve the issue.

Kankakee County in Illinois also used the same voter registration provider and told the Champaign News-Gazette it had connectivity issues, but thought it was premature to attribute the issue. to cyber attacks.

Asked about the cyber issues facing Champaign, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) declined to answer and referred the questions to local Illinois officials.

CISA is responsible for federal cyber defense and risk management, including election infrastructure. CISA had not witnessed any specific or credible threats aimed at disrupting the election infrastructure as of Tuesday morning, according to reports.

Other states also experienced intermittent web outages or headaches on Tuesday. Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said Tuesday morning that his state’s GeauxVote app, online portal and election hotline were experiencing technical difficulties, but he followed up on Twitter. within three hours to say the issues were resolved.

The Nevada Secretary of State’s office told NBC News that the outages in their state were not attributable to malicious activity but to a hardware issue.

CISA Director Jen Easterly said Wednesday that election officials were still testing and verifying equipment and tabulating votes, but her agency was confident in the security and integrity of the midterm elections.

“We have seen no evidence that any voting system has removed or lost votes, altered votes or been compromised in any way in any race in the country,” Ms Easterly said in a statement.