Cyberattack strikes Georgia county that was site of 2021 election breach

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The Georgia county where tech experts copied the state’s election software after the 2020 election was hit by a cyberattack in April.

The secretary of state’s office confirmed the Coffee County cyberattack late April 26 and severed the county’s connection to Georgia’s voter registration system as a precaution.

“We took immediate action weeks ago, before Coffee County would acknowledge the issue, and cut them off from all of our systems immediately,” said Mike Hassinger, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office.

It’s unclear whether the intrusion was a ransomware attack similar to an incident earlier this year in Fulton County, where hackers took information from government computers and demanded a payment. Fulton officials have said they refused to pay the ransom.

The incident was first reported by CyberScoop, a cybersecurity publication.

The Coffee County Board of Commissioners said in a statement that the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency notified it of “unusual cyber-activity” on April 15.

“Upon examination, Coffee County’s IT infrastructure showed no evidence of exfiltration of data/files, but did indicate cyber-activity by an unknown malicious actor,” the board said. “Coffee County has informed federal authorities of the incident and is working diligently with these agencies to identify the origin and possible identity of the persons responsible.”

Coffee County is where supporters of former President Donald Trump copied Georgia’s statewide voting system software and other confidential data in January 2021.

A nonprofit organization run by attorney Sidney Powell, an ally of Trump, paid $26,000 for computer analysts to copy the information on Jan. 7, 2021, the day after a riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Powell and a Scott Hall, a bail bondsman who participated in the breach, have pleaded guilty to charges related to the incident as part of the Fulton County election interference case against Trump.

Two other Coffee County defendants, Republican Party official Cathy Latham and former county elections supervisor Misty Hampton, are also facing criminal charges.

2024 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Cyberattack strikes Georgia county that was site of 2021 election breach (2024, April 29)
retrieved 29 April 2024
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