Cybersecurity

Understand the cyber threats to election systems and leverage effective guidance to improve security and resilience.

About Cybersecurity 

Cyber interference in U.S. election systems disrupts the electoral process, degrades citizens’ trust in voting, and ultimately undermines confidence in our democracy. Election officials are pressed to prevent adversaries from disrupting the electoral process by manipulating voter information or election outcomes.

Tools

Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) Cybersecurity Toolkit for Elections

The Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) toolkit supports election offices and community organizations to improve their resilience against cyber threats.

DHS Election Security Checklists and Guides

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) checklists and guides were developed to support state and local officials in their efforts to safeguard election systems.

Center for Internet Security (CIS) Elections Security Tools & Resources

The Center for Internet Security’s (CIS) security tools and resources provide best practices guides, tools and self-assessments for securing election infrastructure.

MITRE Recommended Security Controls for Voter Registration

MITRE’s recommendations provide actionable security controls that can be applied to protect voting registration systems.

The Elections Battle Staff Playbook

The Defending Digital Democracy Project’s Elections Battle Staff Playbook provides strategies to operationalize effective preparation, communication, incident tracking, and team organization.

The State and Local Elections Cybersecurity Playbook

The State and Local Elections Cybersecurity Playbook from the Defending Digital Democracy Project helps explain the most common and serious cybersecurity and information threats, and offers risk-mitigation strategies to counter these threats.

Cyber Incident Detection and Notification Planning Guide & Template

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Planning Guide and Template help jurisdictions recognize and respond to potential cyber incidents. The template can be tailored to fit the exact needs of each jurisdiction.

Arlo

VotingWorks’ Arlo product is a web-based risk-limiting audit (RLA) tool. Arlo helps election officials compare the votes on a sample of paper ballots with the electronic votes for those same ballots. This type of audit can confirm that the reported winner did indeed win, or correct the outcome.

Policy and Resources

#Protect2020 Strategic Plan

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) #Protect2020 Strategic Plan defines efforts and objectives to secure election infrastructure ahead of the 2020 election cycle.

Election Cybersecurity Resource Guide for State Policymakers

The Council of State Governments provides this list of tools and guides for state and local officials, cybersecurity experts, and election experts to help secure accurate election results.

Facebook Protect

Facebook Protect offers candidates, elected officials, federal and state departments and agencies, and party committees in the US, additional security for their Facebook accounts.

Election Cyber Surge

The Election Cyber Surge program allows U.S. state and local election officials to contact a network of volunteer cybersecurity technologists about cybersecurity matters leading up to November 2020.

Preparing for Cyberattacks and Technical Problems During the Pandemic: A Guide for Election Officials

This guide and the accompanying checklist from the Brennan Center for Justice helps election officials to develop effective digital resiliency plans to ensure continual operations in light of COVID-19.

Cybersecurity Conversation Starters

ElectionTools.org provides worksheets to help election officials discuss cybersecurity with their IT and communications staff.

FireEye Election Security Resources

FireEye provides free webinars, event information, threat intelligence and solutions in one easily accessible place to help governments enforce free and fair elections.

STRONTIUM: Detecting new patterns in credential harvesting

Microsoft provides guidance for mitigating threats by Strontium, the threat actor group credited with significant activity against election infrastructure and political campaigns.

References

2020 VRDB Security Report

The Center for Election Innovation & Research (CEIR) biannual report assessing the security of the voter registration database (VRDB) in the U.S.

Ingalls Threat Intelligence Report: How the 2020 Presidential Election Could be Hacked

Ingalls Information Security provides this report highlighting potential threats to the presidential election and probable attack scenarios.

Background to “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections”: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution

This joint report includes an analytic assessment of the motivation and scope of Moscow’s intentions regarding U.S. elections. The assessment focuses on previous activities, including those aimed at the 2016 US presidential election.

Analyzing the Threat of Ransomware Attacks Against U.S. Elections

This Recorded Future report explores the different ransomware threats to the U.S. elections and offer suggestions to protect against those threats.

Russian-Related Threats to the 2020 US Presidential Election

This Recorded Future report provides an overview of Russia-nexus cyberespionage and influence operations activity related to the 2020 U.S. elections.

Foreign Threats to U.S. Elections: Election Security Information Needs

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) provides this brochure outlining the importance of government assessing and mitigating the plans and activities of foreign governments in regards to U.S. elections.

CISA Insights: Email-Based Attacks on Elections-Related Entities

This Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) bulletin outlines threats and options to protect against email-based attacks on elections related entities.

Services

DHS Services Catalog for Election Infrastructure

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provides a catalog of free cybersecurity services available to the election infrastructure community.