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Risk Mitigation Tool Aims to Shore Up Election Security

With the November presidential elections right around the corner, federal agencies are looking to give state and local governments a better idea of just where the holes in their cyberdefenses are.

Voting tech
In the run-up to the U.S. presidential election, two federal agencies have teamed up to help state and local governments assess the risks posed to their election infrastructure. 

The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have collaborated to launch a Risk Profile Tool, which helps governments pinpoint weak points in their defenses while also making recommendations for risk mitigation. 

Recent reports have shown that many state, local and territorial governments are spotty when it comes to election security, and threat analysts have publicly worried about the likelihood of attacks on county election offices come November. 

The new tool, available on the EAC website, allows participating governments to survey each component of their election infrastructure, assessing areas like voter registration, vote and tabulation machines and pollbooks. 

After jurisdiction information is inputted into the survey, the platform produces "a full list of suggested security control mitigations and follow-on actions," reads the tool fact sheet, the contents of which can then be shared with relevant partners for improved risk mitigation. 

“The EAC has worked to expand our cybersecurity resources for election officials and the Risk Profile Tool serves as an important security enhancement for network protection,” said EAC Chairman Ben Hovland in a statement. “As federal partners, CISA and the EAC are committed to providing useful tools to assist election officials as they run secure, accessible and accurate elections.”

The tool was funded and developed by CISA's National Risk Management Center, whose office focuses on identifying risks to critical infrastructure nationwide through planning, analysis and collaboration. 

Lucas Ropek is a former staff writer for Government Technology.
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