The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) suffered a major system-wide crash on Monday, raising concerns among some observers that the state’s voting system could be vulnerable to hacking.
The state called the failure “catastrophic,” according to the Associated Press. The Orange County Register reports that the problem began with an “outage” at the DMV’s Sacramento headquarters and knocked out computer systems in 105 offices across the Golden State, leading to “canceled appointments, long lines, limited service, frustration and anger.”
Repair work is expected to be completed by Wednesday.
CBS Los Angeles reports:
“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.”
“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.
Last week’s attack on Twitter and Netflix is also adding to concerns about the vulnerability of voting systems to hacking.
Some two-thirds of Californians vote by mail, so any computer outage would likely affect the counting of votes, not the recording of votes, were a similar event to occur on Nov. 8.