PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Is Arizona a hotbed for foreign hacking?

After special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian nationals for interfering with the 2016 election, cyber experts are warning servers in our state are a commonly-used tool by crooks.

The Justice Department said the defendants used malware to infiltrate the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee transmitting information from their computers.

[RELATED: Will Russian hackers affect this year's US election?]

"As an industry in the internet, we have completely dropped the ball," said Brett Scott with Arizona Cyber Warfare Range.

The indictment released this summer sheds new light on how these foreign agents are hacking into political systems, even using a server in Arizona to transmit data. But it doesn't explain why.

[RELATED: DNC says it thwarted hacking attempt on its voter database]

"Arizona has a number of providers that are low cost provider so it's easy to pay a little bit of money to obtain a foothold to attack targets in the United States," Scott said. "If you have computers you're making available on the internet and those computer are being used to attack our country, you're literally part of the chink in the armor."

[RELATED: Microsoft uncovers more Russian attacks ahead of midterms]

"Arizona is a great location for cloud storage and server storage. Why? Because Arizona doesn't experience natural disasters like in coastal states," said attorney James Arrowood, who also on the Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations. "Arizona plays a much broader role in many things going on in the world."

Scott said it's up to all of us to be on the front lines.

"Cyber warfare is completely real, its 24-7 and you must get involved as a stakeholder in war," Scott said.

He also said the Arizona Cyber Warfare Range can get you up to speed on cyber security for free.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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