Election Cybersecurity Comes into Focus in Massachusetts Secretary of State Race

Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim is claiming no one in office is focused on cybersecurity — Secretary of State William F. Galvin would like to disagree.

by Brian Dowling, Boston Herald / August 10, 2018

(TNS) — Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim tried to land a serious blow on Secretary of State William F. Galvin, whose job he hopes to win in next month’s primary, by claiming no one in the office is focused on cybersecurity — but Galvin says his challenger didn’t do his homework.

“It is ridiculous that in this day and age, in 2018, in Massachusetts, where we have probably some of the brightest cybersecurity minds in the world here, there is not a single person in the secretary of state’s office dedicated to protecting our election integrity, dedicated to cybersecurity, dedicated to monitoring this,” Zakim said yesterday, standing in front of the State House announcing his own ambitious election security plans.

Galvin told the Herald that Zakim’s attack is false, saying his office has analysts and directors working in the IT department and with the state’s critical central voter registry whose work is dedicated to cybersecurity and ensuring the integrity of the state’s elections.

The secretary said his office also hires outside consultants to test the system for vulnerabilities.

“He has no knowledge of our office at all,” Galvin said. “We have, and have had, people on the staff for decades to protect the system, specifically on cybersecurity issues. The proof of that is we have not been hacked.”

Zakim’s campaign came to its conclusion after reviewing the titles and job descriptions of employees in Galvin’s office.

“We’ve seen the entire list of employees in the office and there’s no one’s title or job description whose job is to be in charge of cybersecurity,” said campaign spokesman Jon Tapper.

Zakim’s plan to boost election security envisions a round-the-clock team of cybersecurity experts, costing $650,000 to $700,000 a year; a data redundancy policy for voter rolls; system penetration testing to find vulnerable access points; and more risk audits of the voting system.

©2018 the Boston Herald Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.