Ohio Election Chief’s Site Being Probed
October 21, 2008
Dear Board of Elections Directors, Deputy Directors and Members,
Due to suspicious online activity detected Monday afternoon by the Ohio Secretary of State’s IT Division, the SOS public website was set in a “static” mode to provide limited functionality as a security precaution. There’s no evidence that voters’ personal information was hacked or stolen, but due to security concerns, full functionality of the public website has been temporarily suspended to protect the integrity of state records and data.
Please note that this restricted functionality on the SOS public website will not hamper boards of elections’ ability to access the secure VOE extranet website. Voter access to the SOS voter query system. Also, several functions of the SOS public website will still be operational for the public.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol will be assisting with an investigation of one or more security breaches on the public website detected by the Secretary of State’s office staff. Full functionality of the SOS website will be restored when we are assured that all data in the system has been protected by acceptable levels of security.
Unfortunately, this is not the first instance of direct assault on the operations on the Secretary of State’s office. In recent weeks, phone lines and e-mail channels have been barraged with scripted messages, even in the business filings section of the office. Some calls contain menacing messages, and even threats of harm or death. Last week, a suspicious package covered by threatening messages and containing an unidentified powder was mailed to the Secretary of State’s office via the previous location of the client services center. These incidents are also under investigation.
The Secretary of State’s office will continue to work in the best interest of Ohio voters and boards of elections. We will keep you posted on further developments. If you have any questions, please contact an SOS elections administrator at (614) 446 2585.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Director of Elections
Work: 614 995 5221