Wisconsin’s election IT infrastructure must be better secured before the 2018 election after federal officials said “Russian government cyber actors” targeted it during last year’s campaign, state elections commissioners said. “We now know from (the federal Department of) Homeland Security that the Russian government attempted to gain access to the Wisconsin election structure — and that they’re going to come back again,” commission chairman Mark Thomsen said. How the state should respond will be the topic of a special elections commission meeting next month. But Thomsen, a Democratic appointee to the commission, said Gov. Scott Walker’s decision to cut funding for the commission in the state budget will make the task more difficult.
A Republican commission appointee, former state Rep. Dean Knudson, said there are some encouraging takeaways from last month’s disclosure that Russian government cyber actors targeted election systems in Wisconsin and 20 other states in 2016.
In Wisconsin, hacking attempts were thwarted by measures taken by the IT agency for state government, the Division of Enterprise Technology.
But Knudson said he favors additional security measures for state election systems, including the state’s voter registration database and election administration system, WisVote. The database should be encrypted and two-factor authentication required for those with access, he said.