25 Aug 2011

Malware infection creates anxiety in Maine

The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team recently discovered Maine's Central Voter Registration application was infected with malware, potentially compromising sensitive data.

Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers acknowledged the computer security breach on August 24, but did not specify which town office had been targeted. He said immediate action had been taken to secure the system.

A day after Summers announced the malware infection, he said the Millonocket town clerk's personal workstation had been infected. Though investigations were ongoing, Summers said there were no indications voter information had been accessed from the system.

The Central Voter Registration system contains names, addresses and birth dates of registered voters, but not Social Security numbers, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Though no announcement has been made regarding the origin of the malware, hackers frequently infect computers by sending workers apparently official attachments that, once opened, expose the computer to attack. A U.S. Department of Defense cyber operations strategy document released in July said a top priority would be educating workers about best practices to ensure computer security.