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State adds additional measures for cyber security

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate said he would use a nearly 5 million dollar grant from the election assistance commission to boost cyber security in the state during election season. 

Secretary Pate released a list of counter measures he’ll implement including increasing cyber-security, such as firewalls, and performing weekly scans for threats. 

"It’s extremely important in terms of maintaining the perception that voting is a secure act, that its a secret act," said Chris Larimer, KWWL’s political analyst. He says efforts by secretary pate are to keep voter confidence. 

But Larimer wonders if Governor Kim Reynold’s relationship to President Trump will be what compromises that confidence. 

"That is a big question mark. Because the president is so unique, so polarizing is it the case that voters are just going to disassociate the president from the rest of the party?"

Larimer says this election is unique with Reynolds not being a traditional incumbent and Democratic nominee Fred Hubbell having no experience with political office. 

"Can she convince voters to stick with her? Particularly voters who may be independents who have voted for Branstad in the past. Can she get those people to come out again in 2018 for her favor? For Fred Hubbell he’s trying to sell himself as a candidate as someone voters can relate to, and he’s trying to say that the state is going in the wrong direction," said Larimer.

Larimer says he believes presidential approval will play a big part in who voters choose for their next governor. He also said that historically incumbents do well in Iowa but Governor Reynolds isn’t a traditional incumbent since she took over after Terry Branstad was appointed ambassador to China.

Here’s a full list of security measures by Secretary Pate: 

• Partnership with DHS on the “Last Mile Project,” to provide security posters for each of Iowa’s 99 counties

• U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) assessments, including Risk and Vulnerability, Cyber Resilience Review, External Dependency Management, Infrastructure Survey, and Phishing Campaign

• Joined Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN)

• Perform weekly vulnerability scan

• Upgrades to firewalls protecting internal network

• Joined the Electronic Registration Information Center, Inc. (ERIC) and will be sending out an Unregistered but Eligible (UBE) mailing by October 1, 2018 

• Two-factor authentication for I-VOTERS users 

• Develop and implement county level incident response plans

• 2 table tops session were held in partnership with DHS for County Auditors, elections staff and county IT professionals

• Create and distribute Curbside Voting Signs to counties for use at polling locations

• Requiring “Securing the Human,” an online cybersecurity training program, to county level staff in partnership with the Iowa Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO)

• Cybersecurity training opportunities for Secretary of State staff, County Auditors, elections staff, and county IT professionals through conferences at the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), The Election Center, and The National Election Security Summit

• The Iowa Secretary of State’s Office hosted two Cybersecurity Workshops for County Auditors, elections staff and county IT professionals to promote free services offered by the OCIO, DHS, and other state and federal partners

• Post-election audits will be conducted following the General Election

• Upgrades to Election Night Reporting system, including increased cybersecurity protections such as two-factor authentication

• Hiring an Information Security Officer and Cyber Navigator 

• Partnering with OCIO to offer all interested counties malware protection and an intrusion detection system 

• Development of training tools for County Auditors, elections staff and precinct election officials 

• Development of communications aimed at reassuring the public confidence in the integrity and security of Iowa’s elections 

• Development of communications aimed at educating and encouraging voters with disabilities to vote, including veterans with disabilities 

• Creation of a Cyber Working Group with local, state and federal partners


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