An anonymous reader quotes the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
It was a stunning accusation: Two days before the 2018 election for Georgia governor, Republican Brian Kemp used his power as secretary of state to open an investigation into what he called a “failed hacking attempt” of voter registration systems involving the Democratic Party. But newly released case files from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation reveal that there was no such hacking attempt.
The evidence from the closed investigation indicates that Kemp’s office mistook planned security tests and a warning about potential election security holes for malicious hacking.
Kemp then wrongly accused his political opponents just before Election Day — a high-profile salvo that drew national media attention in one of the most closely watched races of 2018… The internet activity that Kemp’s staff described as hacking attempts were actually scans by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that the secretary of state’s office had agreed to, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Kemp’s chief information officer signed off on the DHS scans three months beforehand.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also reports that the Democratic party’s only role was apparently forwarding an email about vulnerabilities to two cybersecurity professors at Georgia Tech, who then alerted authorities:
Richard Wright, a Georgia Tech graduate and Democratic voter who works for a software company…found that he could look up other voters’ information by modifying the web address on the site, a flaw confirmed by ProPublica and Georgia Public Broadcasting before it was fixed….An election security vendor for the state, Fortalice Solutions, later concluded, however, that there was no evidence that voter information had been accessed, manipulated or changed by bad actors…
While publicly denying Wright’s claims about vulnerabilities, behind the scenes, Kemp’s staff was working to correct them…. The secretary of state’s firewall hadn’t been set up to block access to the locations identified by Wright, according to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent’s report. Election officials then “set up safeguards to restrict access to the vulnerable areas” on the last two days before the 2018 general election… This type of weakness, called broken access control, is one of the 10 most critical web application security risks, according to the Open Web Application Security Project, an organization that works to improve software security.
In 2016 Kemp also accused the Department of Homeland Security of trying to breach his office’s firewall. But a later investigation revealed the activity Kemp cited “was the result of normal and automatic computer message exchanges,” apparently caused by someone cutting and pasting data into a Microsoft Excel document.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.