NY gov directs review of voting infrastructure cybersecurity

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Tuesday asked for a review of the cybersecurity of the state’s voting infrastructure amid growing concern over the extent of Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

Cuomo announced that he has directed the state’s cybersecurity advisory board to work with state agencies as well as the state and county boards of election to evaluate cyber threats to New York’s election infrastructure and make any recommendations for additional security measures. 

The governor’s announcement noted, however, that there have yet to be any “credible reports” about disruptions of election infrastructure in the state. 

{mosads}“The integrity of the electoral system is essential to a functioning democracy, and with those core American principles under attack, we must take decisive action to safeguard democratic integrity and expand voting rights,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“In the absence of a concerted federal response, New York State is stepping up to ensure we are prepared for the serious cyber threats facing our electoral system,” the Democratic governor said. 

The intelligence community in January released its unclassified report on Russian interference efforts, which involved cyberattacks on systems used by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and other high-level Democratic officials and the spreading of disinformation.

There has been more focus on Russian efforts to target election systems following The Intercept’s report on a classified NSA document indicating that Russian intelligence sent spear-phishing emails to over 100 local election officials in the days leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that Moscow’s efforts to target the electoral system were broader than previously known and extended to 39 states. 

The intelligence community has offered little details publicly about the efforts, saying in January that Russian intelligence “accessed elements of multiple state or local electoral boards” that were not involved in vote tallying. 

Officials maintain that the efforts did not affect vote counts. 

Also on Tuesday, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) asked the Department of Homeland Security to make public any foreign attempts to hack elections databases, in advance of a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on the security of election systems.

Cuomo has previously been in the news for his cybersecurity efforts as governor, spearheading a push for a regulation aimed at protecting the financial services industry from cyberattacks that went into effect in March.  

The state has also taken other steps to protect election systems, including scanning systems used by the State Board of Elections for vulnerabilities. 

Cuomo established the cybersecurity advisory board in 2013. The group includes several cybersecurity experts who advise Cuomo’s administration on protecting critical infrastructure and digital systems. 

The board is to report its findings within 90 days.  

Tags Mark Warner

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