'Vote for Trump or else': Florida voters receive threatening emails linked to overseas servers

'Vote for Trump or else': Florida voters receive threatening emails linked to overseas servers
Young mixed-race woman, seen from high viewpoint as she casts vote with others at polling station in electionShutterstock/ vesperstock

Dozens of Florida voters and others residing in heavily-Democratic counties across several states have received threatening emails warning them to vote for President Donald Trump in the upcoming presidential election or suffer consequences.

Ahead of early voting, Democratic voters in Alachua County, Fla., began receiving the disturbing emails. Voters in Alaska and Arizona also reported receiving the same message.

The subject line for the email reads: "Vote for Trump or else!"

Targeting voters registered as Democrats, the email message opens with a disturbing statement telling potential voters all of their personal information has been exposed as the sender claims to have infiltrated the "entire voting infrastructure."

The sender also warned Democrats to vote for Trump or they would "come after" them. Voters are also being told to change their political party affiliation so it can serve as confirmation of agreement to the terms of the threat.

"We are in possession of all your information (email, address, telephone… everything)," the message stated. "You are currently registered as a Democrat and we know this because we have gained access into the entire voting infrastructure. You will vote for Trump on Election Day or we will come after you. Change your party affiliation to Republican to let us know you received our message and will comply. We will know which candidate you voted for. I would take this seriously if I were you."

Although initial investigative findings suggest the emails were sent from the right-wing group The Proud Boys' official email address "info@officialproudboys.com," a review of the source code embedded in seven of the emails suggests the messages were sent from an overseas server linked to "IP addresses linked to servers located in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Estonia," according to CBS News.

However, Dmitri Alperovitch, former chief technology officer of the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, explained why the IP addresses do not necessarily reveal the exact location the emails were sent from. He also weighed in on the verbiage in the email.

"It could be that they are simply relaying through this infrastructure," Alperovitch told CBS News in an email. "In fact, given how this email was sent, using their web interface, that's most likely the case — that the people behind this found a vulnerable server in Saudi through which they can route lots of emails."

The latest developments come just two weeks before election day.

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