Election office installs device to thwart cyber attacks

Lazaro Aleman
ECB Publishing, Inc.

Supervisor of Election Marty Bishop reported recently that his office was in the process of having cybersecurity measures installed on its voting systems to fortify them against cyber attacks in the coming elections.
Bishop said Jefferson County had been awarded about $13,000 in state funding to install the “Albert sensor”, a device that provides automated threat alerts on both traditional and advanced networks.
“It's a sensor that picks up foreign internet service providers (ISP) that hit our system,” Bishop said. “If we suspect a foreign ISP, we report it to Homeland Security and others of the cyber security agencies.”
“It's being installed right now,” Bishop said on Thursday, July 26, of the Albert sensor, so dubbed because a similar system for detecting and blocking cyber attacks within federal agencies already had taken the name Einstein.
Meantime, Bishop said, he was waiting to hear word from the state on other funding that he had requested for further hardening of the voting system here against possible cyber attacks.
“We haven't been approved yet,” Bishop said.
Florida on July 7 received $19.2 million in federal money to harden its voting systems. It's up to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner to get the Legislature to approve the distribution of the money to the state's 67 election supervisors to bolster their voting systems' security and integrity before the start of the coming elections.
So far, according to the federal government, 26 of the 50 states have requested 55 percent of the total $380 million that Congress made available for the fortification of the country's voting systems. The Department of Homeland Security, as well as Florida's political leaders, see the state as being a likely target of cyber attacks because of its size and its status as the nation's largest swing state.
Cybersecurity has been a growing concern since the 2016 election when it's alleged outside forces, more specifically Russia, interfered with the electoral process to influence the outcome.