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Finding, Punishing Computer Hackers

Now it’s personal. Someone may have tried to hack into computers used in an election in West Virginia — our election.

Most reports of attempts to influence politics and/or hack into electronic election equipment involve other states. But last week, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner and Mike Stuart, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of the state, revealed the FBI is investigating an attempt to hack into the new system used to make it easier for those serving overseas in the military to vote.

“No penetration occurred and the security protocols to protect our election process worked as designed,” Warner noted.

Good. But such attempts will only continue, possibly escalate, unless those responsible are made to pay a price.

In this situation, the IP addresses of computers used by the suspected hackers have been obtained and turned over to the FBI. Let us hope the agency can match those IP addresses up with the human beings behind the attempted hack.

Warner and other officials in West Virginia probably can do little about it. It is probable the would-be hackers are not operating in the United States.

More needs to be done at the federal level to identify, pursue and punish computer hackers, whether they are attempting to tilt our elections or clean out our bank accounts. Clearly, a more effective program of deterrence is required.

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