Russian hacking indictments raise concerns over voting security in Georgia

Georgia News

Special Counsel Robert Mueller last week indicted 12 Russian operatives, accusing them of meddling with the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

But that indictment and a House of Representatives report raise concerns for elections here at home.

25 pages into the indictment, the hackers are reported to have visited the elections websites of counties in Georgia, Iowa and Florida to find vulnerabilities.

And we found a just released U.S. House of Representatives report on election security that claims Georgia is one of the top 4 most vulnerable systems in the country.

So, I asked Secretary of State Brian Kemp how you should feel when you cast your ballots.

Kemp says this announcement has no bearing for Georgia voters. 

He says he has confirmed with national authorities that Georgia was not hacked as part of this operation, and again those county websites were visited not hacked.

“We are definitely secure in Georgia,” says Kemp. “And I want people to rest easy and not worry about what they’re hearing on the national news because honestly that’s what a lot of the confusion has been.”

But, Congressman Scott Holcomb says his constituents are concerned, not confused.

One person wrote “I should only have to worry about the integrity of the person I am voting for, not the system I am using to vote.”

“Citizens are truly concerned because they know what is going on,” says Holcomb. “They are aware that Georgia’s election system was hacked by a white hat.”

Kemp maintains that the Secretary of State’s system was not hacked.

“That was not the Secretary of State server,” says Kemp. “That was Kennesaw State University’s server.”

Kemp says he immediately moved all operations back in house and that the entire system is offline.

“It’s not hooked to the internet,” says Kemp. “People would literally have to break into the government building to hack them.”

But the report from a US House of Representatives committee identifies Georgia as one of the four states that are most vulnerable: One of their reasons: Georgia doesn’t keep a paper trail.

“Georgia’s statewide system is one of the worst in the country,” says Holcomb. “It doesn’t have any paper backup component. It’s just a computer system that is extremely old and outdated. It goes back to Microsoft 2000.”

Kemp says the system works and he has a private sector security network monitoring all systems 24/7. But, he does agree now is the time.

“There just hasn’t been any good technology to look at moving to without going back to the future,” says Kemp.

Holcomb says back to the future is where we do need to go.

“We can go very high tech,” says Holcomb. “Which most people think is less secure, and spend over $100 million…or we can go more secure and spend less money.”

LESS money being around $30 million a third of the high tech cost.

Secretary Kemp says it’s important to know that he can’t be the one to get this done. Due to state law, that’s on the legislature.

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