There have been reports that states that a number of counties and local election officials are using email systems which could get them exposed to phishing attacks according to an Area 1 Security report.
The organization in collaboration with the Americans for Cybersecurity did some analysis on state and local election administrators’ susceptibility to phishing attacks and according to their findings which showed that some 53.24% of election administrators use only simple or nonstandard technologies to protect themselves from phishing attacks while only about 18.61% have implemented more secured anti-phishing cybersecurity measures to ensure their own safety.
With that, the number of election administrators using personal email addresses or personal email technology for election related tasks are a massive 5.42%.
The Area 1 Security findings also includes the fact that a number of administrators independently manage their custom email infrastructure as well.
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In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Area 1 Security CEO Oren Falkowitz explained: “When you run your own service and you don’t partner with someone to professionally manage it, it means you have to be perfect every single day. That’s really hard.”
According to the security organization, there are six small jurisdictions in Michigan, Missouri, Maine and New Hampshire using Exim. And not to forget that back in May, the National Security Agency had warned that threat actors linked to the Russian military intelligence agency who were the same that had interfered with the previous elections have targeted the version of Exim that these same officials are using.
And it’s not new that nationwide agencies have faced ransomware attacks which usually starts with malicious email messages according to the security experts in a discussion with The Wall Street Journal.
During an online conference held by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), a top Department of Homeland Security election official made it known that there are malicious software that targets computers that are being used by election officials as his remain a big issue to the safety of the election.
“We’ll see that ransomware will come and take down the county network, which has an impact on the election network, even though it wasn’t being targeted,” explained Matt Masterson, senior adviser on election security for the Department of Homeland Security. “It may have an impact on, particularly, a local office’s ability to run elections.”
With the general elections coming on it’s way, the interference of other nations/states can have a bad impact on the outcome of the election but the fact that some election officials aren’t well prepared for this might be a big issue to deal with.
Election administrators claim security testing and monitoring of election networks is better now than it was in 2016, though. More counties are using paper-ballot voting machines as a backup.