Feds step up cybersecurity ahead of midterms
LAKE MARY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - As early voters head to the polls for the midterm elections, the federal government is stepping up cyber security.
"The 2018 midterm elections remain a potential target for state and non-state actors and we remain prepared to respond," said Matthew Masterson, senior cybersecurity advisor for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
DHS is rolling out a new federal cyber attach detection system, called ALBERT Sensors, designed to detect hackers before they get into the election system.
"The vulnerability is if they get into the system they can attack our voter registration system where all the voter records are held and obviously that could create chaos for us on Election Day,” said George Nunez, the director of internet technology for the Broward County, Florida Supervisor or Elections Office.
Every county in Florida now has an ALBERT, which alerts officials to suspicious computer IP addresses that are trying to get into the election system.
“In Seminole county we call it building a cyber mote around our office, but every county in Florida has this similar cyber mote blocking against any cyber intrusion that shouldn’t be happening,” said Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel.
According to a recent Pew Research Center Poll, 67 percent said it’s “somehwhat” or “very” likely that Russia or som other foreign agency is trying to influence voting. Just 8 percent of respondents were confident in the election system.
“There’s always a concern. Always a concern just based on previous elections and what we’ve heard that the elections were manipulated and rigged in a way,” said Hanif Hakimjee, who cast an early ballot in Seminole County.
“We would be ignorant to think that [the attempts] aren’t happening. The question is what are we doing to prevent it?” said Joy Fieulleteau, a voter from Lake Mary.
The ALBERT sensors aren’t 100-percent effective. The system’s only capable of blocking known threats that it’s programmed to identify.