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election security

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National Security and “Federal Control” of Elections

Previously, our CTO, John Sebes tried to unpack the regrettable misunderstanding that current attempts to strength U.S. elections nationwide are some form of Federal hijack of states’ responsibilities for elections.  And of course, he is not our corporate lawyer or anyone in Legal trying to sort this out.  But from a layperson’s view (at least to Constitutional law and all) this doesn’t seem overly complicated to John, and so here’s his view....

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Straight Talk About Election Security Plain Talk

On June 21st the House Administration Committee held a Markup Session for HR 2722 the SAFE Act. We monitor as much of these proceedings as we can. And this one in particular compelled our CTO John Sebes to not only produce a Paper clarifying or correcting several assertions made by a House Member during that proceeding, but also led to a 7-part “plain talk” series on election security posted on our TrustTheVote Project blog. In this post here, John explains why…

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Microsoft Wades into Election Integrity & Security with New Open Source Software Tools

The primary short-term significance of the Microsoft announcement about ElectionGuard (similar to the recent DARPA SSITH open source trusted hardware project) is validation of a major point about election cyber-security that just wasn’t part of the national conversation a couple years ago: Major technology innovation is required to increase the verifiability, accuracy, and security of elections technology and (at least) U.S. elections. That’s probably just as important as the prospect that ElectionGuard might be included in future proprietary voting system products, or in open-source election technology offerings from OSET Institute’s TrustTheVote Project or others….

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New Cybersecurity Threats Require New Thinking on Testing and Certification

Ms. Voting Matters offers a summation of internal leadership discussion on the imperative topic of evolving election technology security; a longer article, but we think worth the read.

On an almost daily basis, there is mounting evidence that the scope of “election security” is wider than might appear at first blush. While much attention has been paid to “voting machines” and “voting systems” that capture and tabulate votes, there is growing awareness that other types of election-related software infrastructure are even more vulnerable by virtue of being network-connected: specifically, voter registration (VR) systems and Election Night Reporting (ENR) systems (which display results over the web, but which do not tabulate votes) have been found to be especially vulnerable. The question is how can cybersecurity testing and certification adapt?

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Examining the Georgia State Voting System Cost Projection

The OSET Institute closely follows all developments in election technology infrastructure, because it’s essential to the defense of democracy.  Lately, one topic that has garnered more public attention is the process by which state and local jurisdictions assess, select, and procure voting technology. One in particular, Georgia, has garnered much attention, and rightly so. There are some very unusual cost justifications underway; and the math is not adding up. Not. Even. Close. The OSET Institute took a measured examination of what the costing should really look like. Something is not right in Georgia.

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A 116th Opportunity: New Congress to Offer Ambitious Election Reform Bill to Defend Democracy

We’ve said it many times and it bears worth repeating: foreign interference in U.S. elections is a threat to our democracy.  The security of critical election infrastructure is the focal point of the OSET Institute’s mission.  So, OSET leadership was pleased to learn that on January 3, 2019, the opening day of the 116th session of Congress, the newly elected House Democratic majority, led by Speaker-designate Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12), will have its first order of legislative business—House Resolution #1 (“H.R.1”), a comprehensive election reform bill.  The question is will H.R.1 become law, and be the change-agent needed to better defend democracy?

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Will Foreign Adversaries Attack U.S. Midterm Elections or Elsewhere?

Most experts believe that Russia through the GRU, the intelligence arm of Russia's armed forces, will continue to interfere in U.S. elections on some level(s).  Others are raising concerns about China and even Iran. There are many prognostications, but before commenting on any one theory, let’s review the multiple paths a malicious actor could use to compromise the 2018 American Midterms and upcoming elections in Europe…..

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The Race to Secure our Elections: How Far Have we Come?

This article is the 1st of a two-part series on the state of America’s election infrastructure security with less than 4-months left to 2018 midterm election. Here I discuss the current situation and progress, and in the next post I will evaluate preparedness for the upcoming midterm in 110 days…

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Election Vulnerabilities: No Exploit Too Small; No Impact Too Large

The American public is currently in the midst of a rude awakening as increasing numbers of reports diagnose the state of American cybersecurity, especially as it pertains to elections. The nature of attacks isn’t limited to election administration equipment. Lots of havoc can be wreaked just attacking voter services web site…

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Recounting Cyberscoop's SF CyberTalks Election Security Panel

Our CTO John Sebes was a featured speaker at Cyberscoop’s recent San Francisco CyberTalks held last week in downtown San Francisco. A huge success, SF CyberTalks was a TED-like conference for the cyber-security leadership community that brought together top influential leaders from the cyber-security community, technology industry and the government. We recap the Election Security Panel discussion John participated on, including recaps of his comments and answers to the moderator’s questions.

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Senate Intelligence Committee Announces Election Security Recommendations

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) offered up its first set of draft recommendations today (Tuesday) from its on-going investigation of foreign intervention in American sovereignty—specifically our election processes including both campaigns and electioneering, and the actual process of election administration. They were announced earlier today with a press conference held by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Those draft SSCI recommendations are as follows in this article with some commentary of our own...

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Critical Democracy Infrastructure: Our Briefing Launches

We are pleased to announce the release of the OSET Institute’s Critical Democracy Infrastructure (CDI) Briefing.  It’s been over a year in development.  Early review by several in Government, Media, and Advisors tell us this may be the most important publication on the issue of election infrastructure yet.  We humbly hope so. This Briefing provides a thorough review of the technology infrastructure of election administration and operation.  We address its critical nature and what is required for it to be treated as such, and assess the challenges of official designation, as well as the immediate and longer-term challenges to protecting this vital aspect of our democracy...

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Recapping Our 4 CAP Briefing Posts

You may wonder why we spent 4 blog posts reviewing and discussing the CAP Briefing.  Here’s briefly why. This Briefing is the kind of substantive consideration and conversation America (e.g., election officials, U.S. security officials, policy strategists, policy makers, and other stakeholders) needs to be having right now. Any set of recommendations deserves fair, intellectually honest, and open consideration and debate...

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Another Look at the CAP Briefing on Solving Election Security

We want to give credit to the great points the Center for American Progress recently made in their Briefing about election integrity. While we have some strategic differences, we generally endorse CAP’s tactical steps for improving election integrity in the near term.  The CAP Briefing was well researched and brought together many points that are widely agreed upon by the election integrity community including the OSET Institute.  Given Greg’s desire to limit the length of his response recently, and focus on the structural issue we’re so concerned about, we decided I would post a list here of the points we agree with and those we differ on...

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