In 2018, some of the cyber risks and vulnerabilities to America’s election infrastructure are no longer hypothetical. Whether in revelations about the extent of meddling in the 2016 presidential election or in proof-of-concept hacks by researchers testing for weaknesses, there are documented vulnerabilities throughout the system.
In October 2016, the Risk Management cover story “Hack the Vote: Cyberrisk at the Ballot Box” highlighted many of the vulnerabilities in America’s election infrastructure. Continuing investigation in the wake of that election has made the stakes clearer than ever. Two years later, many of the vulnerabilities still remain, and many of the threats are a lot more real.
“We have a choice right now,” said Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “We can either bemoan the rise in cyber threats against our elections, or act today to implement simple, common-sense security plans to ensure that everyone can vote this November and that all votes are accurately counted. While there is still much to do to upgrade and replace the country’s most vulnerable election infrastructure, there are basic steps election officials can take to protect our system from hacks or even basic failures on Election Day.”
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