The U.S. government plans to launch a program in roughly one month that narrowly focuses on protecting voter registration databases and systems ahead of the 2020 presidential election. These systems, which are widely used to validate the eligibility of voters before they cast ballots, were compromised in 2016 by Russian hackers seeking to collect information. Intelligence officials are concerned that foreign hackers in 2020 not only will target the databases but attempt to manipulate, disrupt or destroy the data, according to current and former U.S. officials.
Exclusive: U.S. officials fear ransomware attack against 2020 election https://t.co/MFqdE1BG0t pic.twitter.com/gMD0PNrG5H
— Reuters (@Reuters) August 27, 2019
It\’s a good thing that the United States government is concerned about election hacking, especially election integrity and availability. However, the focus on ransomware is bizarrely specific, which is probably triggered by last week\’s ransomware attacks on more than 20 municipalities in the State of Texas. The fact remains that broad perspective and resources are needed for the sake of our democracy. Election officials and those that provide and maintain election infrastructure should get ready now for 2020. This means resiliency to ransomware as a minimum, but also ensuring that more advanced attacks and false flags don\’t put the vote results at risk or deny the franchise to the entire population. Shame on you if you don\’t start now.
It’s unfortunate that the focus on protecting US elections is so narrow, but it’s good to see some action being taken in the face of the blatant attacks that occurred in 2016.
Ransomware has been in the spotlight lately, especially for government agencies. It’s a real concern, but it’s by no means the only concern for election security.
The world’s foremost and most outspoken democracy should be leading the way in establishing secure elections. Instead, we’re mired in political positioning to the detriment of free and fair elections.