One of the largest bug bounty firms in the business has launched an initiative that will allow states’ election officials to test the security of election systems ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Redwood City, California-based Synack announced Tuesday its offering free crowdsourced remote penetration testing services to state and local governments until November. Synack co-founder Jay Kaplan told CyberScoop the idea came together after a series of meetings with government officials, including top executives at the Department of Homeland Security, that discussed how the private sector could be doing more to ward off digital meddling. After Synack’s services are completed, states and localities can harden their systems based on the test’s results.
In a letter written to all 50 secretaries of state, which was provided to CyberScoop, Kaplan wrote: “Staying one step ahead of the adversary is critical to success. Our pro bono services look for vulnerabilities in remotely-accessible voter registration databases and online voter registration websites from a hacker’s perspective.”
Over the last 12 months, senior U.S. intelligence officials have warned of impending cyberattacks and other malicious attempts to interfere with the 2018 midterms. Former FBI Director James Comey also said in 2017 that he fully expected the Russian government and others to once again target the 2018 and 2020 U.S. elections.