An unsuccessful firewall breach of computers in the state of Georgia keeping voter and elections data as well as corporate and professional license records, triggered a conflict with the Department of Homeland Security once the IP was traced to its Southwest DC Office, The Wall Street Journal writes.
This Thursday, Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, asked Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, to clarify the details of the attempted attack on Nov. 15 and explain the role DHS played and who authorized it.
“At no time has my office agreed to or permitted DHS to conduct penetration testing or security scans of our network,” Kemp’s letter reads. “Moreover, your department has not contacted my office since this unsuccessful incident to alert us of any security event that would require testing or scanning of our network. This is especially odd and concerning since I serve on the Election Cyber Security Working Group that your office created.”
The breach on the state’s voter registration database was discovered by a security firm working for the state. Georgia is one of two states that declined help offered by DHS to protect election systems from foreign interference, citing “citing state sovereignty.”
“Right now, we’re just demanding answers,” said David Dove, a top aide to the Georgia secretary of state. “My boss, Secretary Kemp, has been a very vocal critic of the Department of Homeland Security declaring election systems critical infrastructure.”
“The Department of Homeland Security has received Secretary Kemp’s letter,” a DHS spokesperson told CyberScoop. “We are looking into the matter. DHS takes the trust of our public and private sector partners seriously, and we will respond to Secretary Kemp directly.”