On January 7, 2021, the day after the coup attempt, a workforce of pc forensics specialists entered the Espresso County, Georgia, workplace of elections, greeted by the native elections supervisor. The workforce, which labored for an Atlanta-based firm referred to as SullivanStrickler, was employed by Sidney Powell, one in every of Donald Trump’s legal professionals. They had been accompanied by an Atlanta surety named Scott Corridor, believed to be the brother-in-law of David Bossie, a Trump marketing campaign adviser. Then-GOP Espresso County Chairwoman Cathy Latham, who was subpoenaed for her function as one of many state’s sixteen bogus voters who signed an “unofficial voter certificates” after the 2020 elections, additionally joined them. Through the day, forensic specialists copied election machine software program and 2020 voting information.
In March 2021, throughout a recorded phone dialog with Marilyn Marks, the chief director of the Coalition for Good Governance – a non-profit group that works on election transparency and safety –a man identified in court documents as Hall stated, “We went over there and imaged each exhausting drive in each piece of apparatus.” He added, “We had just about the entire election committee there, and so they stated, ‘We’re supplying you with permission. Darkish.’ (Based on Marks, “The Election Committee was not there – just one member was there, and we consider just one member knew of the breach.”) The information had been then copied over so others may evaluation them on a password-protected web site. Since all counties in Georgia use the identical Dominion Voting Methods tools, anybody with entry to the Espresso County software program had entry to the election administration system of all machines. state voting Not less than a dozen states use the identical Dominion system.
The extent of the breach was solely revealed when the surveillance video was obtained final summer time as a part of the invention of a lawsuit – Curling v. Raffensperger – who the Coalition for Good Governance initiated in 2017. The lawsuit was filed by the group on behalf of named plaintiff Donna Curling, a Fulton County, Georgia resident and coalition member, to compel the state of Georgia to desert touchscreen digital voting machines and swap to hand-marked paper ballots. (This was lengthy earlier than right-wing supporters, satisfied that the 2020 election had been rigged, additionally started to denounce computerized election supplies. Marks stated she began recording the dialog with Corridor when he advised her. stated his associates had obtained confidential information associated to his group’s case.)
When the coalition filed go well with, Georgia was nonetheless utilizing touchscreen computer systems below contract with Election Methods & Software program, the nation’s largest maker of voting machines, which supplied no verifiable or auditable file of a voter’s decisions. In 2019, U.S. District Courtroom Decide Amy Totenberg dominated that the state should change these machines earlier than the 2020 election. Georgia moved to Dominion’s Democracy Suite ImageCast X, one other sort of computerized voting machine, referred to as the identify of the poll marking machine. Marks group continued to pursue the case as a result of, though the brand new voting tools offers voters with a paper doc exhibiting their voting decisions, it encodes these decisions in a QR code that voters can not learn, and it’s this code that’s used to file voters’ decisions. Some computer scientists recommended that it could be potential for a malicious actor to make use of the QR code to reverse votes with out the information of voters.
Decide Totenberg allowed plaintiffs’ professional, J. Alex Halderman, professor of pc science on the College of Michigan, to look at the ImageCast X machines and the software program that underpins them. A court docket order was wanted as a result of the Dominion software program, like almost all software program that runs our election programs, is corporate property, which implies it’s off limits to exterior investigators. After twelve weeks of research, in July 2021, Halderman and a colleague produced a ninety-six web page, twenty-five thousand phrase report, figuring out quite a few severe vulnerabilities within the software program that would doubtlessly be exploited by hackers. folks aiming to overthrow an election. Totenberg then sealed the report back to all however attorneys for each events and their specialists within the litigation, partly. so as not to deepen the story of the stolen election. Halderman, for his half, has repeatedly defined that simply because a system has flaws doesn’t suggest these flaws have been used to change votes; the truth is, there is no such thing as a proof that the failings had been exploited in Georgia or wherever else.
The Company for Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Safety (CISA), the department of the Division of Homeland Safety (DHS) chargeable for overseeing election safety, obtained a duplicate of Halderman’s report back to evaluation and located it sufficiently regarding that it issued an advisory final June. to ballot employees throughout the nation, warning them of 9 of the vulnerabilities he described. Maybe to alleviate public concern, the advisory’s authors identified that the vulnerabilities couldn’t be exploited except an attacker had “bodily entry to particular person ImageCast X units, system entry Administration System (EMS) or the power to edit information earlier than”. they’re downloaded to ImageCast X units.
When a reporter from Atlanta Journal-Constitution requested Brad Raffensperger, the Georgian secretary of state and the defendant within the case, in regards to the report, six months after it was submitted to court docket, he was dismissive. (Raffensperger had been cleared to learn the report in November 2021.) in a home after receiving keys and alarm codes,” Raffensperger stated. (Which neither he nor the CISA officers, nor Halderman knew then, was that this was precisely what occurred months earlier than, in January 2021, on the Espresso County Elections Workplace. There may be additionally video exhibiting that, beginning two weeks after the preliminary breach, different brokers affiliated with Cease the Steal had been granted entry to the workplace, together with Doug Logan, the CEO of Cyber Ninjas, the corporate behind the discredited ‘audit’ and supporter of Maricopa CountyArizona.)
Halderman advised me that those that criticized his findings, as Raffensperger did – on the grounds that they had been irrelevant as a result of he was handed the software program and given months to ‘research – do not have in mind how hackers function. “The best way actual assaults work is just not for somebody to method a pc terminal for the primary time, by no means having seen the system earlier than, and out of the blue enter pages of code that can hack the whole lot” , did he declare. “Adversaries achieve entry to programs, typically by phishing assaults, and research them, often at their leisure, and invent or uncover methods to govern them with malicious code. Solely later, on the time of the strike, would an attacker want some type of entry, maybe to insert a USB drive or ship an e-mail with that malicious code connected.
Even earlier than the breach surveillance tape was found, there was robust proof that one thing untoward had occurred on the Espresso County Elections Workplace shortly after the 2020 election. In December, the Election supervisor, who was sympathetic to Trump’s declare that he was robbed of victory, posted a video on YouTube claiming to element a scheme that will permit somebody with administrative privileges to change votes. The video, which was broadly circulated, inadvertently gave viewers an unobstructed view of the county’s election administration system password, which was saved on the supervisor’s pc. She resigned, below stress – apparently for falsifying time sheets, in February 2021. In April, the brand new chief electoral officer discovered a enterprise card for Doug Logan within the workplace. The director later alerted officers on the state workplace of elections and the secretary of state’s workplace, however, in response to his testimony within the Curling case, nobody adopted him.
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