DHS Prepares for Widespread Election Ransomware

Although State and City election boards are upping protective against election hacking, Reuters reports Department of Homeland Security is

preparing for widespread 2020 election ransomware. 

What's happening: Ransomware prevents users from accessing their data until they pay their ransom. This data varies from travel data to sensitive vote files, allowing hackers to manipulate democracy. 

Background: DHS is attempting to prevent a repeat of  2016’s extensive election interference. According to Axios, the government is trying to take a “holistic view”  as “Russia did not attack voting machines in 2016, but it did conduct reconnaissance on accessing and altering voter registration databases.” 

What they're saying: “A successful ransomware attack at a critical point before an election could limit access to information and has the potential to undermine public confidence in the election itself,” said Christopher Krebs, director of the DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. 

What's been done: States have made substantive steps in protecting voter databases, but hackers at DEFCON could hypothetically infect their way to our 2020 election systems. 

Big picture: DHS is taking steps to protect our representative democracy, but hackers are still able to take steps towards dismantling our political system.