No matter what side of the political divide on which one falls, everyone agrees that the security and integrity of elections are critical. Throughout history, foreign adversaries have attempted to influence election outcomes to their benefit and, in 2016, the efforts escalated to cyberattacks. For this reason, the security of US elections and election infrastructure remains a top national concern, and in early 2017, the government designated the election system as one of our critical infrastructures. With the number of cyberattacks growing every day, improving cybersecurity will be a mandatory component in preserving our political process. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed that at least 21 states have had their networks scanned by Russian adversaries. Scanning is the cyber equivalent of checking for holes in a fence, an unlocked door, or an open window. There are also confirmed reports of a few specific intrusions into government-owned voter registration databases.
The recent FBI indictments validate an organized cyberattack campaign that targeted political organizations, specifically the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee. Not surprisingly, this attack began with spearphishing that resulted in network access, the planting of malware, lateral movement, and the exfiltration of sensitive data.
Federal, state, and local governments are responding with initiatives to improve the security of election infrastructure. Earlier this year, the federal government approved $380 million to be used by the states to improve election security. Currently, more than 20 states have requested access to funds and this should increase as we approach the 2018 midterm elections. The funds are being used to improve voter registration databases, election management systems, electronic voting machines, and election night reporting systems.
Full Article: The Votes Are In: Election Security Matters.