California has launched few government projects with higher stakes than its ambitious 2018 program for registering millions of new voters at the Department of Motor Vehicles, an effort with the potential to shape elections for years to come.
Yet six days before the scheduled launch of the DMV’s new “motor voter” system last April, state computer security officials noticed something ominous: The department’s computer network was trying to connect to internet servers in Croatia.
“This is pretty typical of a compromised device phoning home,” a California Department of Technology official wrote in an April 10, 2018, email obtained by The Times. “My Latin is a bit rusty, but I think Croatia translates to Hacker Heaven.”
Although the email described the incident as the DMV system attempting “communication with foreign nations,” a department spokesperson later insisted voter information wasn’t at risk.
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