Elections Security Update: Cybercriminals Never Stop — We Won’t Either

Russian hackers under indictment are dedicated to undermining America’s confidence in U.S. elections systems. So, I want to provide an update about what is being done in Oregon to ensure that the November 2018 election is secure. In short, I am confirming that Oregon has one of the most secure election processes in the country.

Security and intelligence community experts continue to cite cyberthreat activities as the gravest threat to elections security now and moving into the future. As threat actors have employed advanced cyber capabilities to undermine critical infrastructure and attack the public sector, it is essential for Oregon to continue to invest in cyber defenses.

The Secretary of State’s elections security team continues to work diligently to protect Oregon’s voting infrastructure. A major step in that direction is the hiring of additional security professionals. Legislative leaders are supporting these efforts by approving the hiring of three new cybersecurity experts and extending the security perimeter to encompass the county systems, which are a critical component of the voting ecosystem. This significantly enhances Oregon’s security preparedness, providing alerts to vulnerabilities, threats, attacks, and configuration or security policy violations far sooner than was possible before.

Last week, I notified the Department of Homeland Security that the State of Oregon will be the first of any state to deploy a cyber defense strategy of this sophistication and breadth, and we are committed to have it in place by the November 2018 election. Using the federal Help America Vote Act grant monies recently authorized by the Oregon legislature, work continues to secure the diverse set of assets, systems, and networks critical to the administration of the elections process. 

As we continue to increase election security protections, please know that we are also being careful stewards of your tax dollars. For example, in a recent letter to the Co-Chairs of Senate-House Joint Committee on Ways and Means, we identified a way to achieve better security outcomes at a lower cost than what was presented in our May proposal to the legislature. This will free up more of the federal elections security funds for security protections even beyond what the legislature originally requested. I am very proud that our IT security team exemplifies the values of accountability and efficiency that you deserve. The Co-Chairs are trusting our team to take the necessary steps to ensure the security and integrity of our elections. We won’t let them down. 

Even as we work hard to prepare for the election in November, we have also launched security initiatives that will be implemented in 2019 and 2020. Since cybercriminals never stop, neither do we.

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