It was once a scenario thought to exist only in a spy novel or movie…cyber attacks from foreign malicious actors to manipulate the outcome of a national election. But, this is now our reality, as evidenced by the 2016 election that was compromised by Russian cyber attacks on voter databases and electronic voting systems, as well as through the spread of disinformation on social media.
Without a doubt, there is great urgency to address security issues and protect the sanctity of our upcoming elections. In 2018, the federal government made available $380M in new funding for states to update the security of their election systems, but the reality is that this is not enough and our systems are still ripe for an attack.
While state governments are taking steps to strengthen election system security, several shifts need to take place - and I believe that in the coming months we’ll see greater focus on the following:
- Increased collaboration between state governments and providers of cybersecurity software and hardware to ensure greater transparency in how systems are evaluated, their potential vulnerabilities and how those vulnerabilities are addressed.
- Offsetting the growing manipulation of influence taking place by way of disinformation and social engineering, which sways voters’ opinions before they head to the polls. This requires a combined effort between social networks and technology providers, as well as individual users whose online social behaviors can help stop viral sharing of false information.
- Closer and more direct working relationships between state Secretaries of State, CTOs and CISOs in implementing the people, processes and technology that will prevent malicious attacks on state voting systems.
- Continuous validation of security solutions that are part of the e-voting infrastructure will become a critical component of ensuring the election system is safeguarded from foreign or malicious attacks.
The ability to measure and improve cybersecurity effectiveness is at the heart of the trends that will shape the security industry in 2020 and beyond. And as this year’s election quickly approaches, government agencies need to make investments in the right tools for ongoing validation that their security solutions are working the way they’re supposed to.
Want to know more about top trends that will shape the cybersecurity industry? Click here for our 2020 trends press release.