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AFP
October 24, 2020

US election in Louisiana: National Guard called in to thwart cyberattack

World

AFP
October 24, 2020

LOUISIANA, US: The Louisiana National Guard was called in to stop a series of cyberattacks aimed at small government offices across the state in recent weeks, according to two people with knowledge of the events, highlighting the cyber threat facing local governments in the run up to 2020 US presidential election.

The situation in Louisiana follows a similar case in Washington state, according to a cybersecurity consultant familiar with the matter, where hackers infected some government offices with a type of malware known for deploying ransomware, which locks up systems and demands payment to regain access. Senior US security officials have warned here since at least 2019 that ransomware poses a risk to the US election, namely that an attack against certain state government offices around the election could disrupt systems needed to administer aspects of the vote.

It is unclear if the hackers sought to target systems tied to the election in Louisiana or were simply hoping for a payday. Yet the attacks raised alarms because of the potential harm it could have led to and due to evidence suggesting a sophisticated hacking group was involved.

Experts investigating the Louisiana incidents found a tool used by the hackers that was previously linked to a group associated with the North Korean government, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

Trump says he will vote in person: President Donald Trump is taking his own advice and plans to vote in person in the presidential election on Saturday in Florida. Trump is heading to his home state Friday for campaign rallies at The Villages and in Pensacola. He’s scheduled to spend the night at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach and says he’ll vote on Saturday before he flies north for more campaign rallies. Trump revealed his plans on Thursday after the presidential debate with Democrat Joe Bide, Trump said people should be required to show up in person at the polls to vote. Trump also has voted by absentee ballot in the past.—News desk