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Cybersecurity expert weighs in on crash to Florida's voter registration site

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Posted at 5:47 PM, Oct 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 18:19:36-04

TAMPA, Fla. — 1.1 million requests an hour — state officials say Florida’s voter registration website site has never seen that kind of volume before.

Cybersecurity expert Tony Martinez, with MGT Consulting, compares what happened to a mad rush to get in a store on Black Friday.

“We’ve all seen that footage of the doors opening and people cramming through to a point where they are almost blocking each other," said Martinez.

He says online crashes like this are common, and officials likely underestimated the kind of traffic the site would get.

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“Every user on there is requesting some kind of data or submitting some kind of data. If all that happens at the same time and the website doesn’t have the back end infrastructure to service those electronic requests or bits and bites it gets overwhelmed shuts down," said Martinez.

Martinez says these kinds of crashes can be done intentionally by hackers, but there is no indication that’s what happened here.

State officials say they are working with law enforcement to make sure this wasn’t a deliberate act.

Martinez says the interest in this election is likely what caused the spike.

“Glad to see that folks are registering. It means that folks are engaged. Not to get too political, but the website is doing its job and the team behind it to get people to register to vote so that’s always good," said Martinez.

Because of the crash, Governor DeSantis extended the registration deadline until 7 p.m. Tuesday.