DMV Computer Outage Raises Fear Of Election-Day Cyber Attacks
HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — More than 100 DMV offices across the state were impacted by a massive computer outage that started Monday. All systems are expected to be back up and running by Wednesday morning, but it's a reminder of how much we rely on technology and how susceptible these systems can be to problems.
A hardware failure is being blamed for the massive outage that turned away DMV customers the last two days.
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A USC professor and cyber security expert says there's no reason to think a hack was involved. However, come Election Day, it may be a different story. Government computer systems are vulnerable to cyber attacks, he says.
"I think there will certainly be some sort of cyber security issue in some location," says Clifford Neuman, director of USC Center for Computer System Security.
Even recently, we've seen many different types of computer troubles. Reports last month described attempted hacks of voter registration records in more than a dozen states. "Someone that gets hold of voter registration records and could utilize that information to contact voters they don't like and tell them their polling places have changed."
Or there are attacks like we saw last week that shut down major websites like Twitter and Netflix. Something similar could overwhelm election systems and delay the release of results. Neuman says specific electronic voting machines could also be targeted.
"Even though the systems are different from county to county, you don't need to attack all of them. All you need to do is pick the easier ones, those systems that actually have a paper trail are going to be more resilient to that kind of an attack," he says.
As for the hardware failure at the DMV, officials expect things will be back to normal by Wednesday morning.
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