cybersecurity

The elections office of Florida's third-most populous county was breached by a crippling cyberattack in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election, NPR confirmed on Thursday.

There is no indication that the ransomware attack was connected to Russian interference efforts leading up to the last presidential race, but the revelation about it now shows how election officials are preparing for this year's election without knowing all the details of what happened before.

With just weeks before the 2020 census is set to roll out nationwide, the Census Bureau is lagging behind on recruiting temporary workers and addressing IT and cybersecurity risks tied to the first primarily online U.S. count, a new report by the Government Accountability Office warns.

Updated at 12:50 p.m. ET

The Justice Department announced charges Monday against four members of the Chinese military for allegedly hacking the credit bureau Equifax in 2017 and stealing the personal information of around 145 million Americans.

In an indictment handed up by a grand jury in Atlanta, the men face nine counts including conspiracy to commit computer fraud and conspiracy to commit economic espionage.

Puerto Ricans could be casting their ballots online only in the next eight years, according to a bill that is expected to pass this week.

Civil liberties advocates are ringing alarm bells over this plan to shift voting online, warning that the move threatens election security and voting rights.

Local governments across the United States could perform a simple upgrade to strengthen voters' confidence that they are what they say they are: use websites that end in .gov.

Federal officials control the keys to the ".gov" top-level domain, making it less likely that somebody could get one fraudulently and use it to fool people.

Domains that end in .com or .org, meanwhile, could be set up by attackers to try to intercept users seeking information from real sources.

Top election officials from all 50 states are meeting in Washington this week to prepare for 2020 — a gathering amid widespread concern over whether the upcoming elections will be fair and accurate, as well as free of the kind of foreign interference that marred the 2016 campaign.

Amidst fears about cybersecurity and the spread of disinformation, New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation presidential primary — along with the guardian of that tradition - is under scrutiny like never before.

Updated at 1:26 p.m. ET Friday

If Jeff Bezos can't keep his phone safe, how can the rest of us hope to?

Sure, Bezos, Amazon's CEO and the owner of The Washington Post, is smart and presumably has good security people helping him, says Matthew Green, a computer science professor at Johns Hopkins University. But, Green says, "the bad thing about being Jeff Bezos is that there are a lot of people with huge amounts of money who want to hack you."

Threats to U.S. elections this year could be broader and more diverse than before, warns the spy world's boss for election security — and she also acknowledged the limits of her ability to tackle them.

Shelby Pierson, the intelligence community's election threats executive, told NPR in an exclusive interview that more nations may attempt more types of interference in the United States given the extensive lessons that have since been drawn about the Russian attack on the 2016 presidential election.

Hackers linked to Iran are probing American companies for vulnerabilities, cybersecurity researchers and U.S. government officials say.

The warnings suggest that the next phase of hostilities between the U.S. and Iran, following the Jan. 3 killing of a top Iranian general in an American drone strike, is likely to play out in cyberspace.

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