Alaska officials say hackers stole voter info, didn’t compromise election integrity

A voter enters a voting booth, with several other booths behind her.
A voter enters an election booth in Juneau last year. (Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

State officials said Thursday that hackers stole personal information including birth dates and driver’s license numbers of more than 100,000 Alaska voters, though they stressed there was no effect on the results of last month’s election.

The hackers gained unauthorized access to data in the state’s online voter registration system, which was built and maintained by a contractor and operated by the Alaska Division of Elections, officials said in a prepared statement Thursday.

RELATED: Read full elections coverage from Alaska Public Media

Republican Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer, who supervises Alaska’s election system, learned of the hack Oct. 27, his office said in the statement.

“I have some sad news. The state of Alaska was the victim of data exposure by outside actors,” Meyer said at a news conference Thursday. While personal information was exposed, he added, “No other election systems or data were affected.”

Officials said the flaw that exposed the data has been fixed, and Alaskans’ information is now secure, but it’s still not known exactly which records were stolen.

The exposed data includes names, birth dates, driver’s license numbers, addresses, party affiliations, and the last four digits of social security numbers.

It does not go beyond that, Cori Mills, chief assistant attorney general, said at the news conference.

“We looked, we didn’t find any increase in identity theft,” she said. “And in addition, the information here doesn’t involved credit card information — it doesn’t involve any economic information.”

The hackers, who were identified only as “outside actors,” used assets inside and outside the United States to access the data, according to a summary of the state’s preliminary investigation.

As required by law, elections officials are notifying affected voters by mail. Email wasn’t an option because those addresses are not included in Alaska’s voter database, said Josh Applebee, Meyer’s chief of staff.

Affected voters will have access to a year of free credit and ID monitoring from a service called Equifax.

In 2016, state elections officials acknowledged hackers had accessed the server that hosts Alaska’s public elections website. But they said no damage was done, and it would not have been possible for the hacker to manipulate votes or results because of the state’s layers of cyber-defenses.

Previous articleSonja Wieck: Tales of Toughness
Next articleLandslide damage forces Juneau salmon hatchery to destroy fish

No posts to display