21 States Ask DHS for Voting Security
Election Day is drawing near and fear of potential attacks on voting systems grows larger. According to a statement released by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, 21 states have asked the Department of Homeland Security for help securing their systems against potential cybersecurity threats.
The states have asked for services that would help to fend off electronic tampering in the midst of the rumors that Russia’s cybercriminals are looking for ways to tap into the election. DHS has provides voluntary assistance to states on cybersecurity matters, including best practices guidance, cyber hygiene scans and incident responses but they aren’t sure if it is enough.
Johnson and the DHS have been considering classifying state election systems as “critical infrastructure,” providing them with official protections like those U.S. electrical and financial systems receive.
While some politicians believe the move would “exercise a degree of control over the states’ administration of elections,” Johnson said in his statement that the services were requested and voluntary. He encouraged the states to “take full advantage of the robust public and private sector resources available to them” to ensure that their networks are safe from threats.
Johnson said that in recent months, there have been some cybercriminals probing the election systems looking for possible openings, and in some cases they were able to gain access to valuable information.
“However, we are not aware at this time of any manipulation of data,” Johnson said.