Attempts to disrupt the U.S. voter database point to Russian hackers, according to FBI Director James Comey. During a Congress hearing this Wednesday, he expressed concerns regarding hacker’s ability to affect voting systems, a The Bureau’s warning last month about officials boosting security.
“We are urging the states just to make sure that their deadbolts are thrown and their locks are on and to get the best information they can from DHS, just to make sure their systems are secure,” said Comey.
Although Comey gave no specific details about the nature of the intrusion, he did mention that The Agency is trying to understand what Russians could possibly gain from a breach.
While the DHS assistant secretary of cybersecurity and communications, Andy Ozment, commented that they’re actively working with states to prevent hacking, he also stated that the Department of Homeland Security is not interested in managing the security of state election systems. With voting systems isolated from each other, he believes there’s little chance for a single cyberattack to completely disrupt the elections.
“Our voting infrastructure is diverse, subject to local control, and has many checks and balances built in,” Ozment said Ozment.
Since the election systems were not designated critical infrastructure in the presidential directive of 2013, some have expressed concerns that the DHS may want to include them alongside the existing 16 sectors.
“There are 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof,” reads the DHS webpage.
However, adding voting systems to the critical infrastructure list is not part of the DHS agenda, according to a Homeland Security Department official, as it will increase the responsibilities list for the department.