Bad day for nation-state election meddling is a good day for voters
Regardless of your political bent, today is a good day for democratic elections. No significant cyberattacks on the U.S. midterm elections materialized. Cybersecurity experts, government officials and local and national election offices were well prepared to defend the vote from cyber intrusions in the 2022 midterms. As a resident of Colorado, I have personally witnessed and have been involved in definitive measures to lock down the integrity of the voting system to combat election meddling; a process that has been dramatically advanced by moving to paper-based, mail-in balloting. Take it from my colleagues at the CISA:
“We continue to see no specific or credible threat to disrupt election infrastructure, or election day operations,” a senior official at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said during an election-day press briefing. The agency created a cyber-ops warroom and was in contact with other federal agencies and private-sector companies involved in election infrastructure throughout the day.
This is an excellent example of cyber preparation paying off. Prevention works. Security is possible. But it takes attention and a dedicated cybersecurity budget to make it work. A few DDoS, or distributed denial-of-service attacks against a “handful” of election-related websites materialized, but most were unsuccessful. DDoS attacks flood websites with massive amounts of traffic to “gum up the system” for legitimate users. But we should not let down our guard.
Election Cybersecurity Cautionary Note 1: CISA official observed increased efforts by more countries than in the past to influence the elections, including China. Google researchers have claimed that China has contributed to political division more than in the past, contrary to Beijing’s denials.
Election Cybersecurity Cautionary Note 2: Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), who serve as the leaders of the GOP House and Senate Homeland Security panels, have earned reputations for collaborating with Democrats to pass cybersecurity legislation. Both are retiring, which endangers the momentum of cybersecurity policy and legislation. Compounding losses is the retirement of Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), a bipartisan dealmaker with longtime cyber policymaking expertise. Rep. Langevin, who’s office I met with last year, helped usher through some of the more significant cyber measures in recent sessions.
Tom Kellermann, a cyber-industry expert I highly respect, and who served on an influential cybersecurity commission with Langevin and now works as senior vice president for Contrast Security, told The Washington Post:
“It’s definitely going to hurt our proactive public policy as it relates to cyber… All three of those representatives and senators have been leaders in cyber. … They really see cyber as a national security and economic imperative, and they treated it in a bipartisan fashion — what might be the only bipartisan issue on the Hill.”
Regardless, today’s news is a win for all U.S. voters, and a victory for the cybersecurity experts who have worked around the clock to secure the voting infrastructure of this county.
If you are looking for a dynamic cyber-duo to keynote your next conference, meeting or event, get in touch about bringing John Sileo and Tom Kellermann to help your audience defend their profits, information and reputation against the latest cyber attacks. 303.777.3221