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Election Hacking

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."

Read the Intelligence Report

Goals of Election Hacking

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INFLUENCE OUTCOME

Causing one candidate to perform better than another.

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Wreak Havoc

Generally causing chaos in a community or political party.

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UNDERMINE DEMOCRACY

Causing the general public to lose faith in their government.

Targets of Election Hacking

39 States

Russian hackers hit systems in a total of 39 states before the 2016 election.

Read the Bloomberg Article

Operation Blackout Coverage

December 11, 2019 — London

November 5, 2019 — Washington, D.C.

July 10, 2019 — Boston

WHAT IS CYBEREASON DOING ABOUT  ELECTION HACKING?

Tabletop Exercises

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.

Providing Recommendations

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?

View coverage from The Telegraph and ABC WCVB Channel 5.

“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

 

Read His Column in Forbes

Additional Resource

Operation Blackout Summary of Events

Event Takeaways

Take a look at the key takeaways from our November event in Washington, D.C.

Read More

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