Iowa GOP boosts security over hacker threat

Posted by Trent Nouveau

The Iowa Republican Party is bolstering the security of electronic systems that will be used to count some of the first caucus votes of the heated 2012 presidential campaign.

According to the Associated Press, the heightened security was prompted by a YouTube video from cyber activists purportedly linked to Anonymous which asked supporters to "peacefully shut down the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses."

Iowa GOP boosts security over hacker threatAlthough law enforcement officials were unable to confirm the veracity of the YouTube video, the Iowa GOP is taking the threat quite seriously as it moves to protect both its database and website from a potential digital offensive. 

"With the eyes of the media on the state, the last thing we want to do is have a situation where there is trouble with the reporting system," Iowa GOP rep Wes Enos told the AP. 

"We don't want that to be the story."


Douglas Jones, a computer science professor at the University of Iowa, confirmed the GOP's concerns over a coordinated cyber offensive were well-grounded in reality.

"It's very clear the data consolidation and data gathering from the caucuses, which determines the headlines the next morning, who might withdraw or resign from the process, all of that is fragile," he explained.  

"If I were one of these ‘hacktivists’ who had no scruples, I would be really strongly tempted to see if I could get into the computer and see if I could make `SpongeBob SquarePants' win."