ATLANTA — The Georgia Secretary of State's Office now confirms 10 separate cyberattacks on its network were all traced back to U.S. Department of Homeland Security addresses.
In an exclusive interview, a visibly frustrated Secretary of State Brian Kemp confirmed the attacks of different levels on his agency's network over the last 10 months. He says they all traced back to DHS internet provider addresses.
"We're being told something that they think they have it figured out, yet nobody's really showed us how this happened,” Kemp said. "We need to know."
Kemp told Channel 2's Aaron Diamant his office's cybersecurity vendor discovered the additional so-called vulnerability scans to his network's firewall after a massive mid-November cyberattack triggered an internal investigation.
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The Secretary of State's Office manages Georgia’s elections, and most concerning for Kemp about the newly discovered scans is the timing.
The first one happened on Feb. 2, the day after Georgia’s voter registration deadline. The next one took place just days before the SEC primary. Another occurred in May, the day before the general primary, and then two more took place in November, the day before and the day of the presidential election.
"It makes you wonder if somebody was trying to prove a point,” Kemp said.
Last week, the DHS confirmed the large Nov. 15 attack traced back to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection internet gateway. But Kemp says the DHS’ story about its source keeps changing.
"First it was an employee in Corpus Christi, and now it's a contractor in Georgia,” Kemp said.
Unsatisfied with the response he got from DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson this week, Kemp fired off a letter Wednesday to loop in President-elect Donald Trump.
"We just need to ask the new administration to take a look at this and make sure that we get the truth the people of Georgia are deserving to know that and really demanding it,” Kemp said.
Kemp says several of those scans came around the same time he testified before Congress about his opposition to a federal plan to classify election systems as "critical infrastructure," like power plants and financial systems.
Kemp believes Georgia’s state-run election systems are already secure and doesn't think the feds should be involved.
The DHS did not return Diamant’s emails seeking comment Tuesday.
Cox Media Group