The “Secure the Election” initiative the ethical hacking company launched in 2018 to offer crowdsourced penetration testing to election officials, has continued into 2020. The company says that it’s committed $1 million toward the initiative, which allows white-hat hackers to expose an election system’s vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by a malicious actor. The penetration testing itself will expose how many and which servers an election system has connected to the internet, as well as whether a state’s online voter registration system connects directly to its voter registration database, and whether that database can be accessed by any other government agency, like a motor vehicle agency.

One state that’s taking advantage of Synack’s services is Colorado, where the office of Secretary of State Jena Griswold has the company testing anything that’s internet-connected, including electronic poll books. “We need to know [vulnerabilities],” Griswold’s chief information officer, Trevor Timmons, told StateScoop in July. “We’ve got enough time that if they found anything we’d be able to respond to them.”

Benjamin Freed

Written by Benjamin Freed

Benjamin Freed was the managing editor of StateScoop and EdScoop, covering cybersecurity issues affecting state and local governments across the country. He wrote extensively about ransomware, election security and the federal government’s role in assisting states and cities with information security.

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