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Illinois Officials Say 80,000 Voters Hacked

Flick User Chrisitaan Colen/ CC 2.0

The Illinois State Board of Elections says hackers breached the information of up to 80,000 voters last year.

The hackers had access to the system for nearly three weeks before they were detected. They obtained personal information, such as drivers license and social security numbers. Board of Elections IT Director Kevin Turner says there’s no way to know why Illinois was targeted over other states.

"Perhaps they tried other states and weren’t able to get in," Turner says. "They just happened to find the hole in our dike, so to speak."

State Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Tinley Park, says the source of the breach matches an address the FBI links to Russian state security. Turner says IT has since added security measures to prevent a similar data breach.

A lot of the information hackers ended up with came from specific parts of the state. For example, election officials say 14,000 of the affected names were registered in Galesburg.

Tom reports on statehouse issues for NPR Illinois. He's currently a Public Affairs Reporting graduate program student at the University of Illinois Springfield. He graduated from Macalester College. Tom is from New York City where he also did stand-up and improv and wrote for the Awl and WNYC public radio.
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