According to a report by Florida Today, the emails appear to come from the address email@example.com.
“We are in possession of all your information. 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,” read one such message, obtained by Florida Today.
“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.”
Voter intimidation is a federal offense that can be punished with a one-year prison sentence. So far, the emails appear to have only targeted registered Democratic voters.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the domain for the sender’s email, officialproudboys.com, was inactive. However, the site does seem to have been previously affiliated with the Proud Boys group.
According to WUFT, Max Zinkus, a computer scientist at Johns Hopkins University, analyzed the routing information from one of the emails and said that it could be traced to a computer server in Saudi Arabia. He also said that the email seemed to have been created on a management interface used on older web servers with software vulnerabilities frequently exploited by hackers.
“It’s also possible that someone compromised a device and used it to connect to this Saudi server, or compromised the Saudi server itself, or both,” Zinkus explained.
Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio told WUFT that his organization did not send the emails.
“We don’t do mass emails. This is definitely, definitely not us,” Tarrio said, adding that the group has never been involved in voter intimidation.
“It’s just never been a thing,” he noted.
"We have spoken to the FBI and are working with them. I hope whoever did this is arrested for voter intimidation and for maliciously impersonating our group," he added, The Hill reported.
Chris Krebbs, head of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, confirmed on Twitter Tuesday that the agency was aware of the emails. “These emails are meant to intimidate and undermine American voters’ confidence in our elections,” Krebbs tweeted.
Trump faced criticism in late September during the first presidential debate when he told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” when he was asked about the group. The following day, Trump said the group should “stand down” and let law enforcement do its work.