Kander: Missouri election system was not hacked

Secretary of State Jason Kander’s office said Tuesday that Missouri's election system has not been hacked and that it has been in contact with federal authorities regarding potential threats following online attacks in at least two other states.

The Washington Post reported Monday that the voter registration systems in Arizona and Illinois were targeted by hackers. In June, the FBI warned officials in Arizona that Russians were responsible for the cyberattacks there but did not say whether the hackers were employed by the Russian government, the Post reported. In Illinois, hackers were able to access the state’s election system but did not change any information.

John Scott, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, said in an email that Kander’s staff has existing security tools in place and “works proactively to prevent malicious activity."

“Our office’s system has not been hacked,” Scott said. “We have always taken these threats very seriously and have been recently briefed by the Department of Homeland Security on this specific threat ...

"The Secretary of State’s office has also taken measures to block suspicious IP addresses and has shared the specific warnings from the FBI with local election authorities.”

Greene County Clerk Shane Schoeller said his office heard from the secretary of state's office last week, prompting conversations with information technology staff who Schoeller said were "working diligently ... to help ensure the voter registration database is not compromised."

"At this time we are not aware of any attempts to compromise the voter registration data we enter into the Missouri Central Voter Registration database provided through the Office of Secretary of State," Schoeller said in a statement. "We are communicating with our Greene County Information Systems leadership to make sure we are taking all appropriate action as an office and county to minimize and safeguard against any opportunities for a potential threat to occur."

Schoeller told the News-Leader that until his office starts posting voting returns on election nights, there's "nothing linked to the internet." Other safeguards in place to prevent hacks include:

  • Training for staff so that they know how to confirm identities and protect passwords and employee information
  • Information systems staff have to "whitelist" devices before they can be used to connect to the office's wired and wireless networks
  • Security measures to prevent and detect unauthorized access.

While some of the solutions Schoeller mentioned were high-tech, one is simple enough: "Locked doors with equipment that would allow for network access."


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