While the 2016 US Presidential election is behind us, it left waves of uncertainty and distrust about future elections in its wake. The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have recently released a bulletin confirming Russian hacking activities in the run up to the last set of US elections.
In a disquieting statement the agencies expressed “…that Russian government cyber actors engaged in research on –as well as direct visits to- election websites and networks…” The bombshell didn’t hit until the bulletin went on to say that nefarious cyber actors engaged in research “in alphabetical order by state name,” likely targeting nearly every single state, rather than a smaller group of 21 states, as suggested in previous reports.
While the bulletin failed to exhume new information about the details of the information that may have been capriciously extracted, or the network vulnerabilities that were exploited, it did bring needed attention to the exigency for establishing steadfast cyber security protocols in 2020.
The DHS describes itself as having built new relationships that have “improved threat information sharing at every level.” More reassuringly, Congress has allocated an additional $33 million for 2019 election security initiatives. The Pentagon’s plan for the mid-term elections also laid significant preparatory groundwork for the next big day at the ballot box.
State and local agencies are urged to scrub any information pertaining to electoral systems or administrative processes from their websites; a crucial, practical measure to take in guarding against election fraud.
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