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Hillsborough elections office in Tampa reports ‘criminal cyberactivity’

Elections supervisor Craig Latimer releases few details for now but says voter registration and ballot counting systems weren’t compromised.
 
Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer, pictured at a 2022 news conference.
Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer, pictured at a 2022 news conference. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]
Published May 3, 2023|Updated May 3, 2023

Authorities are investigating an incident of “criminal cyberactivity” at Hillsborough County’s elections office.

An unauthorized user “illegally accessed files on a shared drive on our network,” Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer said in a news release Wednesday.

But Latimer said the user had no access to the office’s voter registration or ballot tabulation systems, which have “multiple layers of protection, monitoring and redundancy.” The tabulation system also uses a stand-alone, air-gapped server “not connected to anything else,” he said.

No other details were given about the incident, including when the breach took place or what files were accessed. It was reported to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, among other agencies, and is under investigation, according to the release.

“I look forward to providing further information once the investigation concludes,” said Latimer, who was elected in 2012 after 35 years in law enforcement. “Elections are critical infrastructure, and any attack on our office — even one that does not interfere with the conduct of an election — is an attack on our community and our democracy.”

The office concluded the Tampa City Council runoff elections last week.