Georgia state voting server hacked; data wiped clean by Russians?

A voting server from the US state of Georgia, part of the US election, was wiped clean in July by its supervisors at the Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State University — a suspicious event as the computer was a key piece of evidence in a lawsuit regarding illegal cyber activities in the US presidential election and the accuracy of Georgia’s voting system, reported The Associated Press. The lawsuit was filed on July 3 by a number of reform advocates.

The assistant state attorney general revealed the hack in an email to the plaintiffs last week,hack made public by The AP after it got a hold of the email. The AP also received 180 pages of email conversations that confirmed the deletion of the data and its two backups. At the moment, there’s no strong evidence to point out the entity that ordered the data deletion.

The server in question was 15 years old and may have had vulnerabilities and exploits that made it easy for alleged Russian agents to breach it. As it didn’t keep copies of the votes, the FBI was contacted to help retrieve information, based on a data image of the server taken during an investigation in March.

The FBI got involved in the investigation after security researcher Logan Lamb detected a security hole that wasn’t patched even six months after detection. As a result, the private information of 6.7 million voters was exposed, including Social Security Numbers, as well as passwords for the elections management files. The agency hasn’t confirmed the image still exists.

Voters in the state of Georgia supported US President Donald Trump, giving him 16 electoral votes. Secretary of State Brian Kemp, also a Republican and responsible for the election process in Georgia, claims the system is secure.

“I don’t think you could find a voting systems expert who would think the deletion of the server data was anything less than insidious and highly suspicious,” said one of the plaintiffs in response.

According to the US Department of Homeland Security, hackers infiltrated election systems of 21 states at Russian orders, but no proof exists that the voting results were compromised.

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