Most U.S. states have adopted the necessary technology to allow the federal government to manage voting devices in an effort to root out hackers ahead of the upcoming elections. Two years after Russian hackers breached voter registration databases in Arizona and Illinois, states have begun to use government-approved equipment, according to people familiar with the matter.
Voter registration databases are utilized to verify voter identity when they visit polling stations. The adoption of the so-called Albert sensors, a USD 5,000 hardware developed by the Center for Insecurity Security (CIS), shows the widespread concern shared by state government officials for the upcoming 2018 midterm elections. The CIS is a N.Y.-based nonprofit organization that benefits governments, businesses and organizations by fighting computer hacking.
As of August 7th, 36 out of 50 states installed Albert for the “elections infrastructure,” according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official. The official has also stated that 74 individual sensors across 38 countries and local government officials have been installed, 14 of which were installed before the U.S. presidential election in 2016. A senior advisor on election security for DHS, Matthew Masterson, said, “We have more than quadrupled the number of sensors on state and county networks since 2016, giving the election community a whole far greater visibility into potential threats than we’ve ever had in the past.”
The 14 states that do not have a sensor installed ahead of 2018 midterm elections are concerned about government overreach or are about to install it according to the officials. The technology will feed data about cyber incidents through a data exchange and then to the DHS.
A spokesperson for the National Association of Secretaries of States, Maria Benson, said some installations were delayed due to time spent on “technical and contractual arrangements.”