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Clip's from the Clerk - Hacking Elections

BY Trish Gilbert
Saguache County Clerk & Recorder
How long did it take an 11-year-old to hack the Florida Secretary of State’s Web page for reporting election results?

Answer: 10 minutes.

According to GOVTECH TODAY, it was only a replica of the actual website, but that doesn’t negate the seriousness of the ease of the break-in. Emmett, an 11-year-old Austin, Texas, resident, participated in an election security hacking demonstration at Def Con in Las Vegas. The event pitted kids against replicas of different secretary of states’ Web pages for reporting election results to the public, complete with all the security features (or lack thereof) that the real-life Web pages have.

Overall, 47 kids took a swing at hacking the replica pages. TechCrunch reports that 89 percent of them successfully broke in and were able to alter the information displayed.

“The really important reason why we’re doing this is because we’re not taking the problem serious enough how significantly someone can mess with our elections,” said Nico Sell, founder of Wickr, which helped create the pseudo Web pages. “And by showing this with eight-year-old kids we can call attention to the problem in such a way that we can fix the system so our democracy isn’t ruined.”

The Clerk’s office works hard to protect the integrity of the election process.  In doing so, we have taken extra steps to safeguard Saguache County’s elections by becoming a member of EI-ISAC.   Membership is open to election-focused government entities.

There is no cost to join the EI-ISAC. It serves as the central cybersecurity resource for the nation’s election-focused government entities.

The Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC) was established to support the cybersecurity needs of the elections subsector. Through the EI-ISAC, election agencies will gain access to an elections-focused cyber defense suite, including sector-specific threat intelligence products, incident response and remediation, threat and vulnerability monitoring, cybersecurity awareness and training products, and tools for implementing security best practices.

The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) is comprised of highly trained staff who can provide malware analysis, reverse engineering, log analysis, forensics analysis and security assessments. Incident response services and cyber threat intelligence are available to Saguache County.

As a member, we have direct access to cybersecurity advisories and alerts, vulnerability assessments and incident response for entities experiencing a cyber threat, secure information sharing through the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) portal, tabletop exercises, a weekly malicious domains/IP report, multiple DHS initiatives, CIS SecureSuite® Membership, and more.