election cybersecurity

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National: Federal Election Commission could give lawmakers new tools against hacking | The Washington Post

The Federal Election Commission will vote today on whether lawmakers can use leftover campaign cash to secure their personal tech devices and email accounts against hackers. The proposal, from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), comes amid rising concern that Kremlin-linked hackers are targeting the personal email accounts and other data of lawmakers and their office and campaign staffs. Hacked information from those personal accounts could be used for blackmail or as a jumping-off point to break into email accounts for campaigns, congressional offices or even federal agencies. More importantly, hackers could strategically release hacked information to upend a political campaign, as Russia did with hacked emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee in 2016, or to sway a political or policy debate.   Read More

National: Despite Inactivity During Midterm Elections, Hackers Are Likely To Ramp Up Attacks In 2020 | Wall Street Journal

Hackers were less active than security experts had anticipated during last month’s midterm elections, but the federal government should still continue its assistance to state and local election security, according to Judd Choate, director of the division of elections at Colorado’s department of state. “Many states need money, they need assistance,” Mr. Choate told security experts Tuesday at the WSJ Pro Cybersecurity Executive Forum in New York. Russian hackers’ dialed back their activity this year after attempting to interfere in the 2016 election and leaking stolen emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign, he said. Despite the lack of high-profile cyber threats around this year’s midterm elections, there are signs that hackers will use more sophisticated tactics to interfere in 2020, officials said. Robby Mook, campaign manager for Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 campaign, predicted that attackers will deploy so-called deep fake videos to sow confusion around the next presidential election, using artificial intelligence to create doctored videos and images that appear realistic. Read More

Indonesia: Protecting Indonesian elections from cyberattacks | Antara

Cyberattacks have threatened elections in several countries, and one of the major hacking cases was alleged foreign interference using cyber networks during the US presidential elections in 2016. Any form of interference in the election results, be it through money politics or cyberattacks, could endanger democratic well-being of the targeted country. Hence, cybersecurity must be taken seriously to take precautionary measures and prevent threat of cyberattacks. On April 17, 2019, Indonesia will hold simultaneous presidential and legislative elections believed to be among the most complex and largest elections in the world. Indonesia is the world`s fourth most populous nation, with some 260 million people, and the world`s largest archipelagic country, with over 17 thousand islands. Four months prior to the elections, cyberattacks have already increased in Indonesia, according to the National Cyber and Encryption Agency (BSSN). Read More

National: Pressure mounts on election security as 2020 approaches | The Hill

Pressure is already mounting on Congress to secure the 2020 presidential race from foreign cyberattacks or interference just weeks after the midterm elections. Lawmakers expressed frustration at failing to pass a bill during the current session, but are vowing to resume their work in January. “Yeah, it’s next Congress,” Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) told The Hill last week. Lankford and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) in 2017 introduced the bipartisan Secure Elections Act, seen as the best shot of passing legislation before the midterms. “[Klobuchar] and I are not going to drop it, we’re going to keep working it through, but it’s not going to be the next two weeks,” Lankford vowed. Lawmakers, though, will take up their work with less time to bridge differences and before the 2020 cycle moves to full swing. And there may be new questions for lawmakers to address. Read More

Canada: Cybersecurity chief says jury still out on whether Russian disinformation bots are having any impact | The Province

‘Not everything is blatantly false,’ says Scott Jones. ‘Sometimes it’s a slight manipulation of the facts — just enough to sow division’. The head of Canada’s new cybersecurity centre says the jury is still out on whether state-sponsored disinformation campaigns are actually having any impact on voters’ intentions, but that Canadians should still use a “critical eye” when they read news online. “There’s a lot of research going on in terms of what the effect could be,” said Scott Jones, the head of the Communications Security Establishment’s newly-established Cyber Centre, at a press conference last week. Read More

National: The 2018 midterm elections weren’t marred by foreign meddling. That doesn’t mean the U.S. election system is secure | MinnPost

Leading up to this year’s midterm election, scores of U.S. senators, intelligence officials, and security experts were sounding the alarm: do nothing, and what happened in 2016 will happen again. “We know foreign adversaries are still targeting our upcoming elections,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar in a letter dated May 9. “The open question is, how serious are we about preventing it from happening again?” The wide-ranging campaign carried out by the government of Russia, in concert with other non-governmental entities, to influence the 2016 presidential election shocked the U.S. political and media establishment. It exposed vulnerabilities seemingly everywhere, from social media, where foreign operatives ginned up division on Facebook, to the political parties, where top officials’ emails were hacked and released, to the infrastructure of the voting process itself, which experts worried was weak and could be manipulated. Read More

National: DNC ramps up 2020 cyber protections, NRCC falls victim to hackers | Politico

The Democratic National Committee wants to significantly expand and improve its cybersecurity program in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election, and its top security officials are considering everything from simulated cyberattacks on the Democratic ecosystem to enhanced training for DNC staffers who want to work with the party’s outside vendors and sister committees. “The question is, how are we going to take what we did and supersize it?” DNC Chief Security Officer Bob Lord told Eric for a story out today. Lord produced a short cybersecurity checklist for midterm campaigns, and he recently met with former campaign staffers to gather feedback about improving it. The midterms didn’t see massive cyberattacks like the 2016 campaign, which meant that many of the DNC’s procedures weren’t tested. But DNC Chief Technology Officer Raffi Krikorian did notice one problem on Election Day: too many people jumping in whenever they saw suspicious cyber activity. “We were all trying to swarm around the soccer ball [and] being like, ‘I can help with that, too!’” said Krikorian. The need to clarify roles and responsibilities is one reason why Krikorian wants to convene tabletop exercises before 2020. Simulations are “definitely not something we did in preparation for this cycle,” he said, “but that would be a clear opportunity moving forward.” Read More

National: Emails of top National Republican Congressional Committee officials stolen in major 2018 hack | Politico

The House GOP campaign arm suffered a major hack during the 2018 midterm campaigns, exposing thousands of sensitive emails to an outside intruder, according to three senior party officials. The email accounts of four senior aides at the National Republican Congressional Committee were surveilled for several months, the party officials said. The intrusion was detected in April by an NRCC vendor, who alerted the committee and its cybersecurity contractor. An internal investigation was initiated, and the FBI was alerted to the attack, said the officials, who requested anonymity to discuss the incident. However, senior House Republicans — including Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana — were not informed of the hack until Politico contacted the NRCC on Monday with questions about the episode. Rank-and-file House Republicans were not told, either. Read More

National: Rosenstein urges tech to step up against disinformation | The Hill

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Thursday said social media companies need to protect their platforms from disinformation campaigns and properly police false or misleading content or they will face government regulation. “I think the companies now do understand if they do not take it upon themselves to self-regulate — which is essentially the theme of my talk today — they will face the potential of government regulation,” he said. Rosenstein’s remarks come amid fears that Iran and other countries are looking to take a page from Russia’s 2016 playbook and carry out sophisticated disinformation campaigns in the next presidential campaign. Read More

Maryland: Federal team finds no intrusion on Maryland election systems | Associated Press

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security team found no evidence of intrusion on Maryland’s election system after the FBI told state officials that a company hosting certain elections systems had been acquired by a firm partly owned by a Russian oligarch. Still, the state’s elections board announced Thursday it will transition to a new data center “out of an abundance of caution.” The Hunt and Incident Response Team from the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center was deployed in August to offices in Annapolis, Maryland, at the request of state officials to examine the state’s election infrastructure network enclave, which is hosted and maintained by Annapolis, Maryland-based ByteGrid. “During the course of the on-site engagement, HIRT did not positively identify any threat actor activity on the MDSBE, ByteGrid, or Enclave networks,” concluded the 15-page report released at the elections board’s meeting Thursday. Read More