DHS Chief: Time Running Out to Secure Voting Networks

October 11, 2016–Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is reiterating his call for state and local election officials to seek help from the Department of Homeland Security to protect their voting infrastructure from hackers. “To date, 33 state and 11 county or local election agencies have approached the Department of Homeland Security about our cybersecurity services.  With 29 days to go before the Nov. 8 election, we encourage other election agencies to do the same,” Mr. Johnson said in an Oct. 10 statement.

“Our services include cyber hygiene scans on Internet-facing systems, as well as risk and vulnerability assessments.  We can conduct cyber hygiene scans remotely, and provide state and local election officials with a report identifying vulnerabilities and recommendations to improve online voter registration systems, election night reporting systems, and other Internet-connected election systems,” he said. “Time is a factor,” he added.  “There are only 29 days until election day, and it can take up to two weeks from the time we receive authorization to run the scans and identify vulnerabilities.  It can then take at least an additional week for state and local election officials to mitigate any vulnerabilities on systems that we may find.”

Hackers have penetrated the systems of at least two state election offices and have tried to gain entry to others.  Networks associated with political parties and candidates have also been targeted.  DHS and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence last week blamed some of the attacks on Russian government operatives (TRDaily, Oct. 7). – Tom Leithauser, tom.leithauser@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily