The CBS program 60 Minutes ran a story Sunday evening highlighting the 2016 incidence and future potential of Russia (or others) hacking the US election system. According to Weber County Clerk/Auditor Ricky Hatch, the report is balanced and fair on the whole. However, it indicates several key points to make county officials aware of.
“Russia’s actions were coordinated over a long period of time, with the intent of harming voter confidence in the US election system,” said Hatch, relaying the report on 60 Minutes.
The three main examples of data breaches occurred with the states of Illinois, Arizona, and Tennessee, and one elections IT provider in Florida. Hacking attempts were also made on governmental entities in at least 20 other states, along with one election IT provider in Nebraska.
Attempts and threats to conduct malicious activity against all governments – nationally and locally – are real and will continue. This report from 60 Minutes and others serve as a reminder that we take cyber security seriously and do all that we can to address risk factors that leave our data vulnerable. We need to continue to invest in security and implement in-house protocols of account authentication (passwords), updates and patches, and protective software that defends. AND, we need to insist that our third-party tech vendors and providers are doing the same.
The International Association of Government Officials (iGO) is hosting a webinar on April 19 that will introduce counties to two free services that will help protect county websites from certain types of attacks. To attend, check with your county clerk.