New Cybersecurity Toolkit Looks to Protect Upcoming Elections [Weekly Cybersecurity Brief]

One of the most important solutions to building up the nation’s cybersecurity strategy is the establishment of partnerships between the public and private sectors. And with midterm elections around the corner, protecting voting systems is the next key area that this approach seeks to enhance.

The kickoff of this year’s Black Hat conference also marked the one-year anniversary of the launch of the CISA’s Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC). JCDC was created to serve as a space for government organizations and companies to work together on cyberattack response plans. Since its inception, it has garnered participation from over twenty tech and other companies such as Microsoft and Google Cloud as well as agencies like the National Security Agency and the FBI. In discussing its latest initiatives, a spokesperson for the program shared that there are current efforts to set up exercises for fields including finance, energy, and telecommunications. These will be utilized to further strengthen best practices in handling the expanding threat landscape. 

In its focus on cybersecurity in critical sectors, another major area that the JCDC is turning its attention to is election security. Through JCDC, the CISA has assembled a new and free resource aimed at guarding the upcoming midterm elections. “Protecting U.S. Elections: A CISA Cybersecurity Toolkit” provides services for state and local government officials as well as election officials and vendors. The tools fall under three general categories, including risk assessment, system protection and attack awareness.

As described at Nextgov, the first step for election officials is to use the Election Security Risk Profile Tool, which the CISA created in conjunction with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. This is meant to help foster greater understanding around the various cyber risks that exist. They are then offered resources that are divided into “basic” or “advanced” services depending on their need. In a statement on the importance of this toolkit, CISA Director Jen Easterly said, “Each day, state and local election officials confront threats to their infrastructure from foreign interference, nefarious actors, insider threats and others… This is one more resource to help them in their ongoing efforts to ensure American elections remain secure and resilient.”

Key Takeaways:

“CISA director plans proactive cybersecurity for at-risk companies” – Sam Sabin, Axios

https://www.axios.com/2022/08/10/cisa-director-jen-easterly-vision-for-jcdc

  • The kickoff of this year’s Black Hat conference also marked the one-year anniversary of the launch of the CISA’s Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC).
  • JCDC was created to serve as a space for government organizations and companies to work together on cyberattack response plans.
  • A spokesperson for the program shared that there are current efforts to set up exercises for fields including finance, energy, and telecommunications.

“CISA Releases Free ‘Cybersecurity Toolkit to Protect Elections’” – Dan Lohrmann, Government Technology

https://www.govtech.com/blogs/lohrmann-on-cybersecurity/cisa-releases-free-cybersecurity-toolkit-to-protect-elections

  • In its focus on cybersecurity in critical sectors, another major area that the JCDC is turning its attention to is election security.
  • Through JCDC, the CISA has assembled a new and free resource, “Protecting U.S. Elections: A CISA Cybersecurity Toolkit.”
  • It provides services for state and local government officials as well as election officials and vendors.

“CISA Releases Cybersecurity Toolkit to Help Protect Upcoming Midterm Elections” – Edward Graham, Nextgov

https://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/2022/08/cisa-releases-cybersecurity-toolkit-help-protect-upcoming-midterm-elections/375716/

  • When accessing the protecting U.S. elections toolkit, the first step for election officials is to use the Election Security Risk Profile Tool.
  • They are then offered resources that are divided into “basic” or “advanced” services depending on their need.
  • CISA Director Jen Easterly said, “Each day, state and local election officials confront threats to their infrastructure from foreign interference, nefarious actors, insider threats and others… This is one more resource to help them in their ongoing efforts to ensure American elections remain secure and resilient.”
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