Spikes tell elections administrator if website is underneath attack


SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel designed Seminole County’s elections website himself. He also monitors it himself each day, all day.

“If it’s during 3 o’clock in a morning and unexpected we have 7,000 visitors to a site, something happened,” Ertel said. 

A monitoring association also watches a website around a clock, looking for spikes in traffic.

Monday, on a final day of voter registration for a arriving Aug Florida primary election, Ertel pronounced website trade jumped from a standard 700 people a day to 1,700 visitors. Ertel approaching a remarkable increase. 

But a inundate of trade on a normal day would means an alarm.

“Reason No. 1 we demeanour for a spike is if it’s an intensely synthetic spike, potentially we’re removing a rejection of use conflict on a system,” Ertel said. “That’s where an entity will try and inundate a complement with so many requests … that it crashes a system.”

Ertel pronounced he monitors a Seminole County elections website in real-time so he can respond to difficulty as it happens.

If an synthetic spike is detected, he can retard a IP address, or even a whole nation from where a conflict is originating.

Ertel pronounced a primary reason for a denial-of-service conflict directed to pile-up a website is to erode trust.

“Everything (in a elections process) needs to be pristine, demeanour good and perfect, differently there’s dread in a process,” Ertel said.

By examining a site’s analytics, Ertel can tell where users are going on a site, from what partial of a universe they’re logging on, and if they’re regulating a desktop, tablet or cellphone.

That information can exhibit other forms of attacks on a elections system, Ertel said. 

For example, in June, Ertel beheld users in vast numbers were logging onto a voter information territory of a site. He pronounced that indicated that feign elections mailers were circulating.

“With that, afterwards we can do a amicable media summary saying, ‘By a approach if we perceived this in a mail, it’s since it’s from a domestic entity, not from us,'” Ertel said.

The sovereign supervision only gave Florida $19 million to spend on hardening elections security. Ertel pronounced Seminole County is due to get $316,000 of that income in a subsequent few days.

Ertel pronounced he skeleton to spend a $316,000 on new secure servers that store voter information, a stronger and some-more secure choosing night stating apparatus so hackers can’t change choosing formula and new computers with stable USB ports.

Ertel pronounced so far, Seminole County’s elections website has never been attacked.

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