The attack took place on October 7, it hit Hall County, in the northern part of the state and it disabled the county’s voter signature database.
The ransomware attack hit a Georgia county government and disabled a database used to verify voter signatures in the authentication of absentee ballots. It is a common process to validate absentee ballots sent by mail by analyzing signatures.
The media pointed out that this is the first reported case of a ransomware attack against a system used in the incoming 2020 Presidential election.
Ransomware attacks could have a dramatic impact on the elections, they could disrupt voting systems and raise doubts about the validity of the vote.
While the media reported that the ransomware operators leaked stolen data on their dark web leak site to force the organization to pay the ransom, Hall County stated that there was no indication that the hackers stole any unencrypted data before encrypting the systems.
“At this time, there is no evidence to show that citizen or employee data has been compromised. However, citizens and employees are encouraged to take precautionary measures to monitor and protect their personal information,” Hall County stated.
The DoppelPaymer ransomware gang finally published over 1 GB of files stolen from Hall County systems and revealed that 2,464 devices were encrypted during the attack.
According to Bleeping Computer, The dump includes election documents, lobby comment cards, 911 spreadsheets, accounting and financial records.
“The election documents reviewed by BleepingComputer contain ballot proofs, poll worker lists, administrative documents, accounting and financial records, and city bulletins.” reported Bleeping Computer. “Also included are voter registration records containing resident’s voter registration ID, full name, address, and assigned ballot, which is, for the most part, public information.”
Most of the information leaked is public, but can be exploited by threat actors to carry out malicious activities against voters.
Recently the US government revealed that Iran-linked hackers were behind voter intimidation emails that were sent to Democrats in Florida and Alaska that pretended to be from the far-right Proud Boys group.
(SecurityAffairs – DoppelPaymer ransomware, Hall County)