State election officials are "woefully unprepared" for a cyberattack on or near Election Day, Politico reports.
"They're waking up to it, but they largely don't know what questions to ask," Jeremy Epstein, senior computer scientist at SRI International, a nonprofit research organization, and voting machine expert, told Politico.
Although officials are adamant that voting systems are safe, there are still possibilities for cyber intrusions that can disrupt the voting process. An internet shutdown similar to the recent DDoS attack would severely impact voter's ability to locate their polling station, among other issues.
"Certainly if Internet access in the state is down totally that's a pretty substantial issue," Edgardo Cortes, Virginia Department of Elections commissioner, told Politico. Last week a federal judge ordered that Virginia's voter registration website be reopened after going down on the last day to register in the state, according to Politico.
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp told Politico that he'll have state police on standby in case the governor is forced to declare a state of emergency if there is a cyberattack.
"If something like that happens, how we react to it is going to have a lot to do with the public and press having confidence" in the election, he said, adding that he would "double check" with election officials "for the third time in the last three weeks to ensure there's nothing else we need to do" to prepare.
However, not everyone is confident in the ability of current election officials. According to James Scott, senior fellow at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology, the states lack the time, budget and expertise to handle possible threats.
"It's interesting to hear state officials say that it is" safe from cyberattacks. "It kind of shows how unqualified they are for their positions in the digital age," he told Politico.
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