As lawmakers and federal investigators continue to try to understand the chaos foreign actors were able to create during the 2016 election, the US Department of Homeland Security has taken a central role in helping secure the next election. The agency declared the US election system, which is run by a fragmented group of officials in all 50 states as well as dozens of smaller local governments, to be a part of the nation’s “critical infrastructure” in January 2017. The agency doesn’t have any legal authority over election officials, but it offers programs to help them keep hackers out of voting machines, voter registration databases and public-facing election websites.
Homeland Security’s top cybersecurity official, Jeanette Manfra, sat down with CNET to talk about the balancing act of helping secure elections without overstepping the federal government’s authority. She serves as the National Protection and Programs Directorate Assistant Secretary for the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications at Homeland Security. Manfra told us that, so far, 32 states and 31 local governments have taken part in at least the most basic cybersecurity help offered by Homeland Security, and the agency will have finished 14 deeper assessments by the end of April.
What’s more, Manfra said Homeland Security hasn’t seen a concerted hacking effort targeting the election system like it saw in 2016 — so far.
“The intelligence community has said we have every reason to expect that this foreign influence activity will continue, but we don’t see any specific credible threat or targeting of election infrastructure,” Manfra said.
Full Article: Homeland Securitys tall order: A hacker-free election – CNET.