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Lt. Gov. Office beefing up security ahead of November elections

(Photo: John Bazemore, AP)

SALT LAKE CITY — State elections officials are gearing up and battling cyber attacks before Utahns hit the polls this November.

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox’s office says it saw a large spike of attempted attacks leading up to this year’s primary elections. Fortunately, none were successful.

State Elections Director Justin Lee says Mitt Romney’s high profile candidacy made them take a closer look at security. He says they wanted to discover any potential vulnerabilities and make sure they were doing everything they could to guard against cyber attacks.

“We took it very seriously and looked at the threats,” says Lee. “[We] had meetings with Homeland Security, Department of Protective Services here in the state, with the FBI.”

Lee says the number of attacks is not going down, and their IT team has their work cut out for them.

“We’re seeing millions, and now even a billion attempts per day of people trying to hack into, not just elections, but into the statewide IT infrastructure,” says Lee. “12,000 attacks per second.”

Lee says they don’t anticipate the threat to Utah’s election to go away anytime soon, but adds he feels confident they will be able to continue thwarting hackers’ efforts.

Utah’s election databases have not successfully been infiltrated.