DHS, states drill on election security

secure election (WhiteDragon/Shutterstock.com) 

With the 2018 midterm elections only a couple of months away and the threat of voting system hacks looming, the Department of Homeland Security completed a days-long exercise with state and local governments to demonstrate how they might handle a cyber attack.

On Aug. 15, the Department of Homeland Security said it had completed a three-day "National Exercise on Election Security." The "first-of-its-kind" tabletop exercise, the agency said in a statement, simulated scenarios of voter system interference to get participants talking potential impacts to voter confidence, voting operations and the integrity of elections.  

The training program drew representatives from 44 state governments and the District of Columbia, the Election Assistance Commission, Department of Defense,  Department of Justice,  Office of the Director of National Intelligence,  National Institute of Standards and Technology,  National Security Agency and the U.S. Cyber Command.

The exercise showed the groups how DHS activates and operates its shared threat data and response capabilities, the agency said. It also illustrated how threat information from the federal government and the Election Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC) could be leveraged to defend systems as well as the processes DHS uses to identify threats or incidents.

The agency said the exercise also demonstrated how state election officials can ask federal agencies for help if county and state resources are exhausted. The drill emphasized the significance of having a plan in place that delineates the roles of federal, state and local entities in their response to a cyber incident in the election infrastructure.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


Featured

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.