A cut cable causes Virginia voter website to crash on final day of registration for election

Virginia’s voter registration website went down on Tuesday, the final day for people in the state to register ahead of Election Day. As of early Tuesday afternoon, the website was still not working. 

“Due to a network outage, the Citizen Portal is temporarily unavailable,” the Virginia Department of Elections wrote on its site Tuesday morning. 

Officials said on Twitter that a “fiber cut” in Chester, near the Commonwealth Enterprise Solutions Center, impacted connectivity for multiple state agencies. The cut cable, which appeared to be an accident, affected both the voting portal and the registrar’s offices. 

“We are working with our network providers to restore service as quickly as possible,” the department said. “Please check back later for your online voter registration or absentee needs.”

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Voters looking to register were directed to this statement from the Virginia Department of Elections during the outage on October 13, 2020.

Virginia Department of Elections


The department said it would provide updates via Twitter

The website currently directs voters to fill out and print a paper application for voter registration and a paper application for voting by mail. 

When asked for comment by CBS News, the Virginia Department of Elections said the department is still working to fix the outage. No further updates were provided. 

Angry voters are taking to social media to demand a deadline extension, calling the outage “voter suppression.” Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax called on the state to extend the voter registration deadline due to the outage. 

“I am officially calling for Virginia’s Registration Deadline to be extended beyond today due to the service outages impacting voters’ ability to register statewide,” Fairfax tweeted. “We will work with the Administration to resolve this issue and ensure all voters have access to #Vote.”

Microsoft takes down hacking network with potential to disrupt election

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Microsoft obtained a court order to disrupt the largest botnet in the world.


Angela Lang/CNET

This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET’s coverage of the run-up to voting in November.

A group of tech companies dismantled a powerful hacking tool used by Russian attackers just three weeks before the US presidential election. On Monday, Microsoft announced actions against Trickbot, a Russian botnet that’s infected more than a million computers since 2016 and that’s behind scores of ransomware attacks. 

Cybersecurity experts have raised concerns about ransomware attacks casting doubt on election results. While a ransomware attack wouldn’t change votes and could only lock up machines, the chaos stirred by a cyberattack could create uncertainty about the outcome of the results. 

Election officials in most states have offline backup measures in the event of a ransomware attack, but have a harder time tackling the disinformation that comes with getting hacked. Ransomware attacks are also a concern for counties because they don’t have many cybersecurity resources.

Ransomware attacks have steadily increased over the four years since Trickbot came online, and they’ve targeted municipal institutions like schools, courts and hospitals. Trickbot, the world’s largest botnet, is believed to be behind last month’s ransomware attack on Universal Health Services, which locked up computers in hundreds of hospitals in the US.

Trickbot hasn’t affected any election infrastructure yet, and US officials have noted that there haven’t been significant cyberattacks against the US election, but the takedown announced Monday closes off a powerful tool that Russian hackers could’ve used to interfere with the election. 


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“We have now cut off key infrastructure so those operating Trickbot will no

Court Orders Seizure of Ransomware Botnet Controls as U.S. Election Nears | Technology News

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Microsoft said Monday it had used a court order to take control of computers that were installing ransomware and other malicious software on local government networks and threatening to disrupt the November election.

The maker of the Windows operating system said it seized a series of internet protocol addresses hosted by U.S. companies that had been directing activity on computers infected with Trickbot, one of the most common pieces of malware in the world.

More than a million computers have been infected with Trickbot, and the operators use the software to install more pernicious programs, including ransomware, for both criminal groups and national governments that pay for the access, researchers said.

Trickbot has shown up in a number of public governments, which could be hurt worse if the operators encrypt files or install programs that interfere with voter registration records or the display and public reporting of election results, Microsoft said.

“Ransomware is one of the largest threats to the upcoming election,” said Microsoft Corporate Vice President Tom Burt. Among other programs, Trickbot has been used to deliver Ryuk ransomware, which has been blamed in attacks on the city of Durham, N.C., and hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Microsoft worked with Broadcom’s Symantec, security firm ESET and other companies to dissect Trickbot installations and trace them to the command addresses, the companies said. Microsoft for the first time used strict provisions in copyright law to convince a federal judge in the Eastern District of Virginia that since Trickbot used Microsoft code, the company should be able to seize the operator’s infrastructure from their unknowing hosting providers.

The seizure follows mechanical attempts to disrupt Trickbot last week by sending the operators bad information, researchers said. The Washington Post reported that U.S. Cyber Command was behind that effort,

The Case for Buying Asia Stocks Over U.S. Ones as Election Nears

Japan Stocks Look to Cap Fourth Weekly Gain After Rate Decisions

Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

An expected surge in election-related volatility in the U.S. stock market is paving the way for Asian shares to make a run at besting their American peers.

Since hitting an all-time low relative to the S&P 500 on Sept. 2, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index has outperformed the U.S. benchmark by almost five percentage points. That nascent trend is expected to persist at least through the November poll and potentially beyond, according to strategists.

Asia-Pacific stocks languishing close to record relative low vs U.S.

“There is a better than average chance that Asian stocks will outperform U.S. stocks over the course of the next month,” said Eoin Murray, head of investment for international business at Federated Hermes. “The volatility rise will be more pronounced in U.S. risk assets, and will pervade more globally but with less strength.”

Fears about a contested election result and President Donald Trump’s decision not to push for further stimulus ahead of the vote have helped contribute to the recent weakness in U.S. equities. Meanwhile, a growing belief in a Joe Biden victory and Democrats winning control of both houses of Congress is seen benefiting Asian stocks by reviving the U.S. economy and trade flows.

Democratic Landslide

“The probability of Asian equities’ outperformance will be higher under a Democratic landslide win,” said Nader Naeimi, head of dynamic markets with AMP Capital. “I firmly believe that trend will continue, Asia is under-owned and the U.S. is over-owned.”

Asia will also benefit from China’s strong economic recovery, a weakening dollar that has likely seen an end to its decade-long bull market, as well as a rotation into cyclicals and value, Naeimi added.

Thomas Poullaouec, head of multi-asset solutions for Asia Pacific at T. Rowe Price, also believes the region’s stocks are better placed than their U.S. peers to benefit from the

Cyber Command has sought to disrupt the world’s largest botnet, hoping to reduce its potential impact on the election

The effort is part of what Gen. Paul Nakasone, the head of Cyber Command, calls “persistent engagement,” or the imposition of cumulative costs on an adversary by keeping them constantly engaged. And that is a key feature of CyberCom’s activities to help protect the election against foreign threats, officials said.

“Right now, my top priority is for a safe, secure, and legitimate 2020 election,” Nakasone said in August in a set of written responses to Washington Post questions. “The Department of Defense, and Cyber Command specifically, are supporting a broader ‘whole-of-government’ approach to secure our elections.”

Trickbot is malware that can steal financial data and drop other malicious software onto infected systems. Cyber criminals have used it to install ransomware, a particularly nasty form of malware that encrypts users’ data and for which the criminals then demand payment — usually in cryptocurrency — to unlock.

Brian Krebs, who writes the blog KrebsonSecurity, first reported on the existence of the operation. Cyber Command’s role was previously unreported. The command declined to comment.

Department of Homeland Security Officials fear that a ransomware attack on state or local voter registration offices and related systems could disrupt preparations for Nov. 3 or cause confusion or long lines on Election Day. They also note that ransomware is a major threat beyond elections.

Trickbot was used last month in a damaging attack against a major health-care provider, Universal Health Services, whose systems were locked up by the ransomware known as Ryuk. The attack forced personnel to resort to manual systems and paper records, according to reports. UHS runs more than 400 facilities across the United States and Britain. Some patients reportedly were rerouted to other emergency rooms and experienced delays in getting test results.

On Sept. 22, cyber threat researchers who monitor the Trickbot network noticed