Officials meet to tackle security issues before midterm elections

Hackers are one of their top concerns

Ian Bush
October 17, 2018 - 8:23 pm

Ian Bush | KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Election officials have a lot to grapple with as they work to secure the mid-term votes in November. A tech industry and government conference at the Philadelphia Convention Center this week is getting a status report to solve existing threats.

The American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council gathered federal, state, and local leaders from across the country to tackle some major issues including: hackers, disinformation, and dated equipment.

Justin Forbes, a technician from Carnegie Mellon University, works on voting systems.

"We see a lot of organizations that still have problems that should have been addressed 10 years ago," he said.

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Some manufacturers still have remote access to the machines, deeming it necessary to maintain voter rolls. Experts say that's a risk. Forbes believes the federal government, working with teams like his, should be inspecting and verifying the equipment.

"If states or counties are using uncertified systems, additional scrutiny and oversight should be put into that election to make sure that nothing is happening that may be outside the control of the people voting," Forbes said.

It's not just about cybersecurity. New Jersey's elections chief Bob Giles says his office trains technicians to look for physical tampering and other trouble.

"Every system has its vulnerabilities. What we as election officials look to do is to find ways to work to help prevent those vulnerabilities from coming to fruition," said Giles.