Cyber Surge’s roots can be traced back to hacker conference Def Con, whose ‘voting village’ saw hackers attempt breaking into decommissioned voting equipment.

Volunteer hackers to help get US election cybersecurity up to par
  • US elections are approaching in November, but cybersecurity remains underfunded, despite being a proven threat
  • An NYU-led voluntary group of cybersecurity pros could help support the security of smaller election offices 

The US 2020 elections are drawing ever closer, bringing with them renewed concerns over the integrity of the voting systems serving as vehicles for democracy across the country.

Cybersecurity remains one of the system’s biggest threats, and yet it remains largely underfunded, if not to a degree overlooked. 

In 2016, Russian attackers attempted to hack state-controlled voting systems, including the attempted breach of a software company that provides software to local voting offices to verify voter ID. 

The Russian military hackers also succeeded in stealing the personal details of 500,000 voters in a single state.

Aside from the proven threat of state-led interference, there are potential electronic voting equipment vulnerabilities and failures to contend with too. Last November, the battleground state of Pennsylvania suffered voting equipment problems, as did Florida and North Carolina in 2016 and Georgia in 2018. 

That threat isn’t just from foreign governments either, but from any cybercriminal. Federal authorities say that one of the gravest threats to the November election is ransomware. These types of attacks on public authorities, from state and local governments, have been on the rise since 2016, and could affect voting systems directly or indirectly by infecting broader government networks that include electoral databases. Attacks could rattle confidence in a vote, if not paralyze voting operations in some areas entirely. 

In response to these threats and others, Congress added US$425 million for election-related spending – to include cybersecurity measures – earlier this year. However, citing the threats, which include intelligence warnings that the Kremlin will try to disrupt the 2020 elections once again, senior officials, including Democratic senator Mark Warner, have urged the government to do more. 

“[…] additional money is no substitute for a permanent funding mechanism for securing and maintaining elections systems, and comprehensive legislation to protect our elections […]” Warner said. 

At present, some states pay private companies for cybersecurity, while others rely on in-house staff or federal assistance – but much of this budget earmarked for security has gone instead towards making voting operations safe in the pandemic, including covering mail ballot costs and buying personal protective equipment. 

Bit with cybersecurity resources ultimately lacking, some assistance may now come at no cost at all. 

[출처 : techqp / 2020.08.03.]