Rabat - Moroccan hackers infiltrated computer systems of a Florida school district in an attempt to steal personal data and slip into the state voting system, reports the Miami Herald.
Rabat – Moroccan hackers infiltrated computer systems of a Florida school district in an attempt to steal personal data and slip into the state voting system, reports the Miami Herald.
While the hackers could not get what they wanted, the operation exposed the vulnerabilities of the Florida computer system.
The hackers identified were by the United Data Technologies (UDT), a computer security company which investigated the incident, as a Morocco-based group called MoRo. According to the company, they started trying to get access to US voting systems two months before the presidential elections in November 2016.
Despite their failure to get the desired data, they managed to slip into the Flordia district school networks and post pictures of an individual dressed as an ISIS fighter on two schools websites.
“They infected the systems with malware — malicious software — that turned off the logs recording who accessed the systems,” said UDT.
Michael Kaiser, the executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, explained that the reason why the Moroccan hackers targeted the school district network is that such systems are most likely “attached to other networks in the town or city or even the state, depending on how the network is set up.”
Undermining government networks could have been achieved through stealing “the log-in information for a system administrator who also has access to other government networks” or using “that person’s email account to send emails infected with malware to government employees at other agencies, tricking the recipient into believing the sender also works for the government.”
The investigation revealed the hackers were trying “to bring down what they thought were the state voting systems.” On a site hackers use to brag about their exploits, the hackers said they were trying to get into voting systems hosted by Diebold voting platforms.
Getting into one government network would have been an easier task for the hackers “to find a backdoor into others,” UDT explained.