Federal officials say they want to help political campaigns guard against against cyberattacks, but are struggling to figure out how. Election officials said this week that while much of the attention since 2016 has focused on protecting voting systems, campaigns remain highly susceptible to cyber intrusions. However, those same officials have no means of directly communicating with the hundreds, if not thousands, of candidates about how best to address cyber threats. Robert Kolasky, director of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Risk Management Center, said DHS has resorted to contacting the Republican and Democratic national committees to try to reach campaigns. And even then federal officials aren’t able to reach everyone. Few campaigns reach out to DHS about cybersecurity issues, Kolasky told reporters on Tuesday, adding that candidates are more likely to contact the FBI or their national committees when they notice something has gone wrong.
He said that after the midterms he hopes lawmakers, officials and the political parties can figure out a better way to communicate when it comes to making sure campaigns have stronger protections against cyberattacks.
“Competitors work together on security, they don’t compete on security,” Kolasky said after an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). “I’d like the department and campaigns to work together on security, work with the government, and not compete on security.”