Report: Hackers Attacked Troubled DMV "Motor Voter" Registration System


California's DMV is full of problems. Long lines, sleeping employees, and a failed "motor voter" system.

The "motor voter" system, which rolled out in 2018, was a program designed to efficiently register millions of new voters at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

However, problems with the program started before it even began. Six days before the scheduled launch last April, state computer security officials noticed the department's computer network was trying to connect to internet servers in Croatia.

The LA Times obtained an email written by a California Department of Technology official that stated the malfunction was 'pretty typical of a compromised device phoning home.' “My Latin is a bit rusty, but I think Croatia translates to Hacker Heaven,” the official also wrote.

After word of the fiasco got out, voters were understandably concerned about their information being leaked.

The email described the incident as the DMV system attempting "communication with foreign nations," but a department spokesperson later insisted that voter information wasn't at risk.

The new system was plagued with issues: frozen or blank DMV computer screens; private information remaining on touchscreen devices between appointments; selections sometimes flipping from what a customer had chosen.

Non-citizens were even added to voter rolls while other DMV customers didn't know they had been registered.

“If we want to avoid an international incident and major security and launch failures on the scale of recent news stories about Facebook, IRS, or the Office of Personnel Management — we need state executives to understand the serious nature of the current high-pressure rush to launch,” a senior programmer wrote in another email the day before the motor voter system went live.

Looking back, maybe a rush to launch wasn't the smartest idea.

An independent audit of the project is expected to be released in the coming days.

Read the full story at the Los Angeles Times.

Photo: Getty Images


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