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Cybersecurity in the Age of COVID-19 [Cybersecurity Brief]

The coronavirus pandemic is actively changing society as we know it causing organizations and individuals to adjust to new standards. The upcoming 2020 presidential election is just one of many important events that need to adjust to these changes. Joseph Marks’s and Marcus Baram’s recent articles on COVID-19 and the upcoming election give insight on how the virus is putting in-person voting at risk, along with the possible repercussions regarding security.

Both articles state that COVID-19 is causing America to switch to less secure voting practices. Mobile and online voting is not an option because it is not secure enough to prevent hackers from intervening in the election. This means that the only secure option for voting is paper and mail-in ballots which could potentially cost up to $1 billion dollars for the new machinery. On top of that, Congress has only appropriated $400 million dollars to making these changes, which is not nearly enough.

The 2020 election security now mirrors the risk brought upon from Russian interference in the 2016 election. If the proper efforts are not made towards investing in secure voting practices, the U.S. could be dealing with mixed results following this year’s election once again.

Key Takeaways

The Cybersecurity 202: Nationwide voting by mail will be a massive undertaking say those who’ve done it – Joseph Marks, Washington Post

  • COVID-19 is putting in-person voting at risk for the November 2020 election
  • A large increase in efforts and resources is needed to make the switch to voting by mail across the U.S., but $400 million appropriated by Congress is not enough funds
  • Would need all new machinery to sort and count ballots
  • Fixing this issue is even more difficult because officials can’t even meet with each other in a group to discuss making these changes
  • This switch may produce mixed results similar to the Russian interference in the 2016 election

HBO’s new ‘Kill Chain’ documentary will terrify you about American election security – Marcus Baram, Fast Company

  • HBO documentary Kill Chain reveals that individuals and foreign states used low-cost techniques to gain access to voting systems
  • Shows vulnerable systems made in 2005 are still being used in the upcoming election which are not secure
  • COVID-19 is causing America to switch to less secure voting practices
  • Online/mobile voting is not secure enough to execute in today’s age, paper ballots and mail-in voting are the only options

What are your predictions for the upcoming election?



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