LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The general election is just three months away and Nevada officials want to make sure the process is secure. Despite the focus on mail-in balloting, the challenge of cyber security could be an even bigger task.
“Any information system is always under attack,” said Wayne Thorley, deputy secretary of state for elections.
It’s up to election officials to keep your vote safe and Thorley, who oversees the election process, is well aware of how crucial it is to protect the election from hackers and cyber warfare.
“It is absolutely a real threat. Any information system you have comes with a risk and we use lots of information systems when it comes to elections,” he said.
As far as the actual vote, Thorley says the ballot system is not connected to the internet, insulating it from cyber attacks. It’s a standard way to safeguard your ballot called an “error gap”.
But it’s not just voting election officials have to protect. There’s online registration and the publication of results online.
Election workers across Nevada routinely get training against viruses, malware and other phishing attacks.
“As we go more and more online, more and more electronic systems, those risks don’t go away. We just have to be aware of them,,” Thorley said.
While the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee are suing Nevada over its new mail-in system, federal cyber security officials are aware of the threat. In March, the Department of Homeland Security started a $2.2 million program to provide software and other security training to local election staff.
“The thing about information security is there’s no finish line,” Thorley said. “You’re never 100% secure. You constantly have to be evolving because the threats are always evolving.”
He says the expansion of mail-in balloting this election means an expansion of election security. Two separate systems are being created to handle in-person and mail-in voting.