FBI investigating hack attempt in Ohio election network: report

U.S.

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(THE HILL) — The FBI is investigating an attempted hacking of an Ohio election network that occurred in May, multiple sources told The Washington Post

Two people familiar with the matter reportedly said that someone attempted to hack the Lake County election network on May 4 from inside the office of Republican John Hamercheck, chairman of the county’s board of commissioners.

A spokesperson for Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) said investigators with the office think a government official was behind the attempted breach. 

State and county officials told the Post a private laptop that was plugged into Hamercheck’s office on May 4 obtained routine election network traffic. No sensitive data was captured. 

Authorities are attempting to determine if any laws were broken and whether a person improperly got into the network. 

The discovery of the hack was made when the information obtained by the private laptop appeared at a conference in August that aimed to show there was election fraud in the 2020 presidential election, according to the Post.

The conference was hosted by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who has peddled false election fraud claims for months. 

The FBI confirmed the investigation to the Post but would not give further comment. 

In an interview with the Post, Hamercheck said he could not talk about the investigation when asked if he was involved in the attempted breach. 

“I’m aware of no criminal activity,” Hamercheck said. “I have absolute confidence in our board of elections and our IT people.”

The investigation in Ohio comes after an investigation was announced in Colorado that also involved an attempted security breach to a county network in May.

People familiar with the issue told the Post that Douglas Frank, who has done work for Lindell, talked to election officials in both counties before the incidents occurred.

In interviews with the Post, Frank said he has talked to 100 election officials in more than 30 states, claiming he found the algorithm used to tamper with the 2020 election. 

The Hill has reached out to the FBI, LaRose and Hamercheck for comment.

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