In September of 2020, a ransomware attack hit an election technology vendor, and that has many cybersecurity experts worried about the security of the upcoming elections. Tyler Technologies, which sells election software, announced it was hit with a cyberattack that targeted the company’s internal telephone and information technology systems with ransomware.
“We can expect these attacks to proliferate, which is why IT and security teams supporting the voting infrastructure must be constantly vigilant when monitoring for potential cyberattacks,” Gidi Cohen, CEO of cybersecurity vendor Skybox Security, told the Washington Examiner.
Cohen also urged election-related organizations to “go back to the basics” by reviewing security programs to identify significant risks and implementing an immediate mitigation plan. Text on Screen: “While investing in larger systems and new technologies will help better fortify our voting infrastructure longer-term, six weeks isn’t enough lead time with so much hanging in the balance,” Cohen added.
It is now yet known if the attack on Tyler Technologies was part of the campaign being carried out by Russia, China, and Iran to influence the U.S. election. Yet, some security experts say that the attack fits in with what we can call a larger mission from America’s enemies to create distrust about the U.S. election system.
“Political campaigns are easy targets with big rewards,” according to Steve Tcherchian, chief information security officer at XYPRO Technology. “We saw during the 2016 election how an improperly secured home email server can do insurmountable damage to a campaign. It potentially influenced our entire election, thus influencing how policies are set, what priorities are focused on, and how relationships between countries are handled.”
Emotet Makes an Election Season Comeback
Also making a comeback for the election season were Emotet ransomware campaigns with all the usual behavior similar to past Emotet campaigns, like large volume of messages and worldwide distribution, but with an election-themed twist.
On October 1, 2020, thousands of Emotet email messages with the subject “Team Blue Take Action” were sent to hundreds of organizations in the US. The message’s body was taken directly from the Democratic National Committee’s website, with the addition of a line asking that the recipient open the attached document, which initiates delivery of the payload.
This shift to using political lures comes as America is speeding towards the November election. Like earlier use of COVID-19 or Greta Thunberg lure themes, TA542, the entity behind Emotet, is attempting to reach as many people as possible by capitalizing on current events.
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