Aside from Russia’s campaign to hack and influence the 2016 presidential election, which the U.S. intelligence community and known hackers claim legitimately happened, America’s rival also broke into polling stations in dozens of states. Analysts are still trying to determine the extent of these breaches, but with the 2018 midterm elections just around the corner, many states and counties worry they won’t be ready by the time voters returns to the polls. And according to a new report in Politico, state and local officials have plenty to worry about as the Department of Homeland Security’s security screenings are behind schedule.
Per the report, states hoping to beef up their cybersecurity ahead of the midterms “may be on a waiting list for up to nine months”:
That means some states might not get the service until weeks before the November midterms and may remain unaware of flaws that could allow homegrown cyber vandals or foreign intelligence agencies to target voter registration databases and election offices’ computer networks, the officials said.
The security screenings currently being performed by DHS officials are called “risk and vulnerability assessment,” and is considered the best and most thorough protective measures around:
DHS personnel come in person to do an intensive, multiweek probing of the entire system required to run an election. But department officials acknowledge that it’s of limited use if it doesn’t come soon enough for states to correct their flaws before voters go to the polls.
Christopher Krebs, a DHS official tasked with spearheading such election security efforts across the country, admitted to Politico the nine-month waiting period was “not a good metric.” However, he stressed the department “[is] working to prioritize” the matter in the time remaining before the first voters head to the polls in 2018.