With the 2018 midterm elections fast approaching, security experts are warning that the nation’s election infrastructure will once again come under assault by hackers seeking to undermine American democracy. But here’s an underappreciated fact: We’re already under attack. “We average 100,000 scans on our [computer] systems a day,” Missouri’s secretary of state, Jay Ashcroft, told a recent Senate panel examining election security. He was referring to unauthorized probing of the networks. Mr. Ashcroft and other state election officials were asked how often they detect attempts specifically to break into voter-registration and other election-related systems. “Every day,” responded Vermont’s secretary of state, Jim Condos. “We probably receive several thousand scans per day.”
… Last year, US intelligence and election-security experts issued grim warnings that alleged Russia-backed meddling during the 2016 election was merely a “wake-up call.”
Now, four months from the 2018 midterm elections, it’s unclear if the US is ready for another round of election-related attacks in the cyber-shadows.
“There is a vast improvement over where we were in 2016,” says Lawrence Norden, an election expert at the Brennan Center for Justice in New York. “There has been so much more discussion and training done over the last year and a half than there ever was around cybersecurity.”
But, he adds, it is not nearly enough.