FBI director warns that hackers have been ‘poking around’ voter registration systems

The systems underlying our elections process are more important than ever this year, and the bad guys know it too. FBI director James Comey said at a House Judiciary Committee hearing today that “bad actors have been poking around” voter registration systems lately.

“This is very different than the vote system in the United States, which is very, very hard for someone to hack into because it’s so clunky and dispersed,” he clarified, perhaps raising some eyebrows in the room. “It’s Mary and Fred putting a machine under the basketball hoop at the gym. Those things are not connected to the internet, but the voter registration systems are.”

The FBI issued a similar warning a month ago, saying that one state’s election board was compromised and others had seen multiple attempts. More activity has been observed since then.

Comey did not specify who these “bad actors” might be, but he did mention there was “a variety of scanning activities,” something that indicates preparation for a more serious attack.

“We are urging the states just to make sure that their deadbolts are thrown and their locks are on and to get the best information they can from DHS just to make sure their systems are secure,” Comey said.