The Department of Homeland Security is giving states, including Colorado and Texas, a chance to game out how they might respond to a cyberattack on election systems ahead of this year’s midterm vote. The department began its biennial “Cyber Storm” exercises on Tuesday, working with more than 1,000 “players” across the country, including state governments and manufacturers, to test how they would withstand a large-scale, coordinated cyberattack aimed at the U.S.’s critical infrastructure such as transportation systems and communications.
The program, running for the sixth time, involves three days of simulations. Seven states are taking part, according to Jeanette Manfra, assistant secretary of Homeland Security. This year, amid continued threats of Russian interference in American elections, some of those states will see how prepared they are for hackers targeting their election systems in drills that don’t actually attempt to breach their computers.
“We are making it as realistic as possible, and nation-state threats are our priority,” Manfra told reporters Tuesday at the U.S. Secret Service headquarters in Washington, where the simulation’s “control center’’ is located. “The cyber threats to critical infrastructure continues to grow and represents one of the most serious national security challenges we must confront.”