Feeds

Ohio elections website hacked as vote scuffle gets ugly

Service restored

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

USA '08 Service has been restored to the website that handles Ohio's voter registration and elections information after hackers breached its defenses. The intrusion is just one of several assaults confronting the Secretary of State's office as tensions mount over next month's presidential election.

IT workers took the site down on Monday to "detect and prosecute any illegal breach of our voting infrastructure to maintain voter confidence," Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner said in a statement. On Tuesday, the site returned, although parts of it remained in "static" mode, meaning a campaign finance search database and other features were unavailable.

Brunner's office has not disclosed details of the breach, except to say that voters' personal information was not accessed. Ohio's Highway Patrol is helping in the investigation of the incident.

With 20 of the 270 electoral votes needed to clinch the election between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, Ohio is a key battleground state. Polls indicate the contest is a tossup. In 2004, Ohio voters secured Republican George W. Bush's re-election victory by just 119,000 votes, one of the tighter races in that state's history.

In addition to the website attack, employees of the secretary of state's office have reported a barrage of phone calls and email containing "menacing messages and even threats of harm or death." A package sent to Brunner's office included an unidentified white powder and a message that read: "Death to Obama supporters."

Much of the controversy between Brunner's office and the Ohio Republican Party concerns new rules making it easier for residents of the state to vote early. Republicans argue that elections officials are required to match voter-registration information with driver's license databases and other government records.

Last week, the US Supreme Court blocked a lower court ruling that would have required Brunner - a democrat - to scrutinize the applications of thousands of newly registered Ohio voters before adding them to the voting rolls.

In Cincinnati, Hamilton County prosecutor Joseph Deters - who is also chairman of the southwest Ohio regional campaign for McCain - launched a grand-jury investigation following complaints about early voters. He turned the probe over to a court-appointed special prosecutor following complaints from democrats. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.