No cyberattacks detected against states’ election systems, feds say

After nearly two years of preparation by state election officials, there were no reports of malicious cyber-activity against voting systems on Election Day.
(Getty Images)

After more than a year of scrambling to boost their cybersecurity practices, election officials had a relatively quiet Tuesday on that front, according to federal officials who monitored activity on state computer networks.

The Department of Homeland Security briefed reporters several times on Election Day to provide updates on whether federal cybersecurity personnel had detected any suspicious activity similar to 2016, when hackers backed by the Russian government attempted to breach the voter registration databases in 21 states and waged disinformation campaigns on social media. But about 9 p.m., a senior DHS official said the department had seen “no reported cybersecurity events that would affect the ability to cast and count votes.”

CyberScoop also reports that officials did not detect any attempts to take down any state’s election results websites with a distributed denial-of-service attack, which cybersecurity analysts said before Election Day would be a plausible way to disrupt the voting process.

Federal authorites did detect scans of state government systems, though they did not appear out-of-the-ordinary. “What we continue to see is your run of the mill activity like scanning,” a DHS official said. “It happens every day. In a lot cases it’s not even election infrastructure systems that are being scanned.”


Homeland Security also established a virtual platform on Tuesday called the Nation Cybersecurity Situational Awareness Room, for state and local officials, as well as election technology vendors to share information throughout the day. Head over to CyberScoop for more.

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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