Here’s how to keep Russian hackers from attacking the 2018 elections

By J. Alex Halderman and Justin Talbot-Zorn

Washington Post, June 21, 2017

“They’re coming after America,” former FBI director James B. Comey told the Senate intelligence committee this month. “They will be back.”

In a highly politicized hearing, this bold statement drew strikingly little partisan disagreement. Senators on both sides of the aisle have seemingly reached consensus that foreign agents did try to tamper with the 2016 election and that they are extremely likely to do so again.

The question is: What do we do about it?

While the ongoing Russia investigation has, understandably, received massive attention, there’s so far been scant public focus on the question of how we safeguard our electoral systems from outside interference in the future. Responding to the threat of election hacking isn’t exclusively a matter of diplomatic intrigue or international sanctions. It’s fundamentally a matter of computer science: how we harden our election technology through cybersecurity standards.

This week, we’re joining a group of more than 100 experts on election administration, computer science and national security in releasing a letterthat lays out an actionable plan for safeguarding the vote. The experts include tea party Republicans and progressive Democrats, academic computer scientists and corporate security officials — all united in the view that our nation’s rough patchwork of voting security measures is wholly inadequate. One of us (Halderman) will testify Wednesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Russia’s attacks last year.

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