Security Strategy, Plan, Budget

State of Security: Illinois

Who’s In Charge: Board Executive: Steve Sandvoss

Twelve Russians were charged with penetrating this state’s election computers, using SQL injection techniques in July of 2016 at the Illinois State Board of Election compromising names, addresses, dates of birth, driver's license numbers and partial Social Security numbers of Illinois voters.

Initial reports said about 500,000 voters were affected but the number was later reduced to 76,000 people. In response to the incident, authorities reset all IVRS passwords in order to force users to change their passwords and subsequently make them stronger with more complex requirements.

On October 16, officials from the state election board held a press conference to discuss the cybersecurity of the election systems where officials announced the state’s National Guard would be on standby to assist with any suspected security breaches. Another point made was to warn voters to ignore scams that try to convince them to vote online or over the phone. It is believed these scams are conducted to suppress voter turnout by getting people to think they voted, when in fact they did not thus keeping them away from the polls.

"In the immediate aftermath of that incident, we implemented new cybersecurity policies and procedures to guard against a future attack," said Steve Sandvoss, executive director of the state Board of Elections. "The Department of Homeland Security has advised election officials across the country to expect more such attempts to disrupt elections this year."

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