JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi was the target of sustained cyberattacks on Election Day, according to the Secretary of State’s (SOS) office.
The Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack made many SOS websites inaccessible on Election Day. SOS Michael Watson said while the website suffered interruptions, Mississippi’s voting system remained secure.
“Our election systems are air-gapped, so there was no connectivity to any voter data or anything to do with our election systems. It was safe,” said Watson.
DDoS attacks overload websites with fake traffic, leaving them inaccessible. Mississippians weren’t able to access the polling place locator or the sample ballots that are available on the website during Election Day.
According to federal officials, it was the largest sustained attack they were aware of in the country.
“It’s interesting. I’m not exactly sure why they would target Mississippi. Maybe they think that we’re not prepared or ill-prepared. They found out that was wrong,” said Watson.
A pro-Russian hacker group claimed responsibility, but no federal agency has attributed the attack to any coordinated campaign.
“It’s something that Mississippians should be more aware of. Be alert to the fact that that’s going to continue to happen and probably even more as there’s more of a focus on cybersecurity around the globe, not just here in Mississippi. I want Mississippians to understand we’re fighting for them. We’re going to be prepared, and we’ll protect their data,” said Watson.
In a statement released by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, they’ve “seen no evidence” that any race in the country was compromised.