As election season approaches, hacktivism is a major concern, according to a recent report from highspeedinternet.com. The report defines hacktivism as "hacking for the sake of activism," or illegally accessing confidential information for political or social causes.
SEE: Cybersecurity in 2018: A roundup of predictions (Tech Pro Research)
The 2016 presidential elections were plagued by concerns of hacking, which was found to be a real threat, as the voter registration databases of 21 US states were targeted by Russian hackers.
In an effort keep states vigilant during the 2018 midterm elections, highspeedinternet.com found the 10 states most likely to be hacked in 2018.
States with more federal representatives experience more hacking incidents, according to the report. Since hacktivism can affect voter and congress member's perceptions, hackers target these states because they feel there is a better chance to actually change policy if there are more politicians present, said the report.
Additionally, states with larger legislatures experience more hacktivism, the report found. The report used the number of hacking incidents from the 2017 FBI crime report, and adjusted for the number of state legislators, finding the number of hacktivist incidents per legislator, said the report.
Based on these factors, the report determined the top 10 states most likely to experience election hacking in 2018:
- New York
Eight of the 10 states on the list were among the 21 targeted by Russia in 2016, and those that have been previously targeted are very likely to be targeted again, according to Danielle Root, voting rights manager at the Center for American Progress.
Check out this collection from TechRepublic to learn more about how states handled Russian cybersecurity threats after 2016.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- States with larger legislatures and more federal representatives are more likely to be hacked in 2018. — highspeedinternet.com, 2018
- The states most likely to be targeted for election hacking in 2018 include California, New York, Texas, Florida, Nevada, Arizona, Washington, Colorado, Virginia, and Illinois. — highspeedinternet.com, 2018
- Midterm elections 2018: How 7 states are fighting cybersecurity threats from Russia and other attackers (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
- Twitter bans distribution of hacked materials ahead of US midterm elections (ZDNet)
- Cheat sheet: How to become a cybersecurity pro (TechRepublic)
- Election meddling: How do we stop Russia? (ZDNet)
- State of Washington has new laws and the Air National Guard to help secure 2018 midterm election (TechRepublic)
Macy Bayern has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.