State fears local election clerks vulnerable to cyberattacks

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- State election officials fear local clerks are vulnerable to cyberattacks because they're using outdated operating systems that aren't receiving security updates.

Wisconsin Elections Commission Election Security Lead Tony Bridges writes in a memo to the commission that at least a handful of local clerks are logging into the state election system using Windows XP or Windows 7. He wrote that support for Windows XP ended in 2014 and Microsoft will stop providing free security upgrades for Windows 7 in January.

He adds it's safe to assume a large percentage of those clerks won't upgrade before the deadline or pay for updates. He says even clerks with current operating systems often fail to install current security patches.

He proposes testing the clerks' machines for vulnerabilities and supplying them with loaner computers.