How credible is the threat and How Do We Stop It?
WHAT IS ELECTION HACKING?
Recent times have seen election tampering by special interest groups and foreign powers in the United States, Europe and Asia. With a looming 2020 presidential election in the United States, it's critical to understand what election hacking is and how it happens.
Election hacking is not limited to the minutiae of hacking election equipment or contaminating and violating the integrity of voter roles. It extends to other attempts to undermine democratic institutions and the systems of governance in the republic like causing chaos, power outages, disinformation campaigns, or inciting violence.
"In July 2015, Russian intelligence gained access to Democratic National Committee (DNC) networks and maintained that access until at least June 2016."
Goals of Election Hacking
Causing one candidate to perform better than another.
Generally causing chaos in a community or political party.
Causing the general public to lose faith in their government.
Targets of Election Hacking
WHAT IS CYBEREASON DOING ABOUT ELECTION HACKING?
Cybereason is hosting multiple election hacking tabletop exercises leading up to the 2020 US elections. The goal is to examine and advance the human and organizational responsiveness to an anarchic group’s attempts to undermine democratic institutions and the systems of governance in the republic.
Most election hacking discussions and exercises focus on the mechanics and minutiae of hacking election equipment or contaminating and violating the integrity of voter roles. This exercise explicitly excluded that from consideration to focus instead on everything else in the electoral system.
Engaging the Community
Cybereason extends invitations to every branch of law enforcement to attend. The goal is to engage a diverse group of government officials to get different perspectives on a complex issue.
At the end of the election hacking tabletop exercises, Cybereason follows up with law enforcement officials to discuss what went right and what could be improved. The idea is to develop an iterative process by which we can come to understand how to defend against this threat.
Interested how the exercise went?
“For most of the last century and arguably further back than that, access to information favored empowering the people and toppling monarchies, dictatorships and other totalitarian regimes. Therefore, it came as quite a surprise to see the opposite: the Internet and social media, in particular, being used to divide us one against another. I’m reminded of the words of Benjamin Franklin, 'We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.'"
– Sam Curry, CSO