With cybercrime so rampant, you need to be proactive about protecting yourself.
The feds say “the system is blinking red” to warn of cyber attacks on elections system – Florida to spend millions to prevent any tampering
Leon County’s cybersecurity for the 2018 election will be reinforced by an additional $231,000.
The money comes from a $19 million federal grant the Legislature agreed to spend in the wake of the indictment of 12 Russian operatives in a plan to disrupt voting.
Election Supervisor Mark Earley said Leon’s share will be used to make his office’s digital files more hack-proof, the buildings housing voting machines and servers more secure and to provide additional training for staff and election workers.
More than a third of the grant is earmarked to secure the election’s office databases and to improve post election auditing capabilities and staff training,
“Of course we need to protect not only against information technology types of threats, but also physical safety and disruptive types of vulnerabilities to our physical operation, so a significant expenditure is being made in that regard,” said Earley.
Nearly $140,000 will go to additional security for the election’s offices where servers and voting equipment are housed
Federal officials told Florida last September by federal officials hackers attempted to access voter registration information. Secretary of State Ken Detzner said the attempts were unsuccessful and the databases and voting systems remained secure.
Prosecutors said the attack was part of a scheme by Russian operatives to disrupt the 2016 election. Attempts were made on election-related websites in Florida, Georgia and Iowa.
Elections experts warn the danger in Florida is not that votes may be changed – Florida votes are cast on paper ballots. They fear election day disruption if hackers are successful in changing voter registration information and then people show up at the polls and are told they are not eligible to vote.
Last month, the USA Today Network reported the Trump administration warned Congress about potential threats targeting elections offices and urged lawmakers to work with local officials to implement more safeguards.
“We’ve submitted a (cybersecurity) plan to the state and waiting to hear back,” Earley said Friday, as he headed to a meeting with five federal cyber experts at the Capitol.
Congress made an additional $380 million available for elections security in March. Florida’s share of the money will be distributed to the 67 counties based on voting-age population.
The grants for other capitol region counties include $78,000 for Gadsden, $59,000 for Jefferson and $69,000 for Wakulla.
Reporter James Call can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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