- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Election officers in one Florida community are on edge after hundreds of requests for absentee ballots poured in over a 2½-week period were deemed a cyberattack — resulting in the first known cyberattack of a U.S. election.

The fake ballot requests were for the Aug. 14, 2012, state primary, the Christian Science Monitor reports. They were for Democratic and Republican candidates, Miami Herald says.

“This is significant because it’s the first time we’ve seen a very well documented case of attempted computer election fraud in the U.S.,” said J. Alex Halderman, a cybersecurity researcher at the University of Michigan, in the CS Monitor report. “This should be a real wakeup call because it illustrates the sort of computer voting attacks that many scientists have been warning were possible for years.”

The attacks were called “clumsy” by investigators and were thwarted before doing any damage to the elections.

But Florida is “lucky,” Mr. Halderman said. The next attack could be successful.

“We’ve seen very sophisticated attacks against U.S. corporations,” he said, in the CS Monitor report. “If that level of sophisticated attack were directed against these election systems, it could have been disastrous.”