- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 24, 2018

California ranks as the most at-risk state for political hacking, with New York, Texas, Florida and Nevada rounding out the top five, according to a new report.

The projections from HighSpeedInternet.com were calculated by juxtaposing 2017 FBI data on attacks by political hackers, also known as “hacktivists,” against each state’s number of legislators.

The study warns states to be on alert with midterm elections less than two weeks away.

“Because influencing public opinion comes down to how many people you can convince, hacktivists tend to target states with higher populations,” said the report, which was released this week.

It also noted that in 2017, California had 28 political hacking incidents, the most in the country with New York as the runner-up state with 14.

Researchers found that states with more federal representatives tend to experience more hacktivism, with six of the 10 states with the most representatives among the top 10 for hacktivism incidents in 2017.

Additionally, states with larger legislatures also experienced more political hacks, with eight of the 10 states with the largest state legislatures among the top 10 to have incidents.

Earlier this year, Congress appropriated $380 million to the Election Assistance Commission to give to states to enhance election security.

Across the country, eight states have also passed cyber-related bills this year to protect voting systems, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Jim Condos, president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, recently said about 75 percent of discussions during breakout sessions at the secretaries’ annual conference this year focused on cybersecurity, compared to 2016 when there was almost no consideration of the issue.

“Cybersecurity is now our focus, it’s what keeps many of us as secretaries of states and local officials up at night,” Mr. Condos said.

• Dan Boylan can be reached at dboylan@washingtontimes.com.

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