Florida: State building defenses against Russian hack attack in 2018, but is it too late? | Tallahassee Democrat

Vladimir Putin winks at Mark Earley while the Leon County Elections Supervisor works. The photo of the Russian president was a gift from the Capital Tiger Bay Club to celebrate Earley’s 2016 election victory. “I put some horns on it and keep it on my desk as a reminder that none of this is fake,” said Earley, after a tour of his central office in Tallahassee where Leon County stores information on more than 207,000 voters. The idea Russia conducted an expeditionary probe of the nation’s election infrastructure two years ago for a later attack on democracy keeps Earley and other elections supervisors up at night and on their toes at work. “It’s all real – a clear and present danger,” said Earley.

One must pass through two electronically-secured doors to get to Earley’s inner office which he then unlocked to greet a visitor in July. The state had just approved Earley’s request for an additional $100,000 for enhanced physical and cyber security for the year. It was part of a $19.2 million federal grant Florida applied for in May in advance of the November election.

“As we approach the 2018 election season, there is nothing more important than ensuring the security and integrity of Florida’s elections,” Scott said Thursday when announcing the state had approved plans to distribute the money to all 67 counties.

The Republican Scott is challenging Democratic Florida Sen. Bill Nelson for his seat. Nelson is not as confident in Florida’s security efforts. “The Russians are in Florida’s elections records,” Nelson proclaimed Tuesday at an event in Tallahassee.

Full Article: Florida guards against a Russian hack attack of elections.

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