PALM BEACH, Fl. - Another elections office got hacked during the 2016 presidential race in Palm Beach County.
- 2016 ransomware attack targeted Supevisor of Elections office in Palm Beach County
- Elections officials and FBI found out about attack in 2019
- There is no state law that requires elections offices to report cyber intrusions or breaches
We're now just finding out about it.
The current Supervisor of Elections in Palm Beach took charge in January of 2019.
Wendy Sartory Link said it was in November of last year she found out about the ransomware attack that happened in September of 2016.
She said the incident wasn't brought to her attention until the then IT Director left his position last year.
Link said she believes the breach had no impact on the 2016 election results because voter files were not compromised.
She said she also believes there is no current threat.
If it happened in 2016, why are we finding out about it now?
Apparently, there's no law that says the elections offices have to report such a cyber incident.
Spectrum Bay News 9 reached out to Supervisors of Elections offices.
Lori Edwards the Supervisor for Polk County said in an email she's "not aware of a state law that requires supervisors of elections to report cyber intrusions or breaches."
She did however explain there is an agreement with the Florida Division of Elections to report any incident to the state.
Spectrum obtained a copy of the memorandum which as a section that explains the protocols.
As it relates to the Initiative, parties agree to communicate relevant developments in security between
SOEs and DOS including, but not limited to:
• Attempted cyber incidents or anomalies detected by deployed security systems;
• Patterns of odd behaviors seen in third parties;
• Threats against officials and elections infrastructure; and
• Other cybersecurity related information as deemed relevant
The Florida Secretary of State said they take elections security very seriously.
"The Department was not made aware of the ransomware attack in Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Office in 2016," said Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee in an email statement.
"The Department is working with each Supervisor of Elections to address any weaknesses or vulnerabilities that are identified in their county prior to the 2020 elections," she said.
The Department also has five cybersecurity navigators to help county Supervisors of Elections.
The FBI did not confirm or deny it is investigating the alleged breach in Palm Beach.