SALT LAKE CITY — Utah officials are reporting that attempts to scan or intrude into state administered websites and digital assets — including databases and sites associated with elections — have reached record levels.
And it’s clear that having an internationally recognized political figure who is a two-time presidential candidate, former governor and widely recognized critic of Russia on the Utah ballot isn’t helping.
Rick Bowmer, Associated Press
FILE – In this Tuesday, June 26, 2018 photo, Mitt Romney, former GOP presidential nominee, addresses supporters at during an election night party in Orem, Utah. Romney looks like a shoo-in for a Senate seat from Utah after winning a landslide primary victory and toning down his criticism of Donald Trump, but first he’ll face a Democratic opponent with a distinctly different political outlook.
But no one is blaming U.S. Senate candidate Mitt Romney for the billion-plus incidents that state digital security systems are now blocking on a daily basis in the run-up to this November’s general election. It’s just the world we now live in.
State Elections Director Justin Lee said that while Romney’s presence has heightened Utah’s profile as a potential hacker target, an increased volume of intrusion attempts during election season has become the coin of the realm across the country.
“It’s not just us,” Lee said. “Anyone running a public website is getting attacked on a regular basis, and the volumes have been on the rise for years.
“As elections get closer, the levels go up.”
While a big name on the ballot and record activity by digital malefactors may be more a matter of correlation than causation, Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said in a podcast with Utah Policy that news of Romney’s decision to run earlier this year was viewed as a call to arms as far as state cybersecurity issues were concerned.
“I can tell you we sat down, my team and I sat down … the day that Mitt Romney announced that he was running,” Cox said. “We realized that day that this was different, that this was a game changer. Because, you had a former presidential candidate who was very outspoken when it came to Russia, specifically the Russian threat.
“We’d been kind of a low-profile state when it comes to elections and now suddenly we’re very high-profile.”
Cox also noted to Utah Policy that the highly publicized intrusion activity associated with the 2016 election cycle continues to be …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Utah News