California upgrades cybersecurity in all 58 counties

ByLeslie Brinkley via KGO logo
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
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The California secretary of state unveiled plans to beef up election cybersecurity in all 58 California counties in the lead up to the mid-term election on Nov. 6.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGO) -- On Tuesday, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla unveiled plans to beef up election cybersecurity in all 58 California counties leading up to the midterm election on November 6.

Padilla said, in addition, mistakes made by DMV in registering voters could potentially undermine confidence in the electoral process.

RELATED: California DMV may have improperly registered 1,500 to vote

He said there are red flags in light of hacking attempts in 2016. In California, he said people probed and scanned for vulnerabilities in the state's general network but there was zero evidence of actual hacking.

The $168 million plan to upgrade California voting systems is in partnership with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. Their cybersecurity expert, Matthew Masterson, said, "The Russian government made brazen attempts to undermine our democracy through targeting of state election infrastructure, hacking leak operations and just information. Heading into 2018, election systems remain a target for cyber actors."

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The plan's call for the assessment and replacement of aging servers and firewalls coupled with training to identify phishing campaigns. The secretary of state also addressed DMV botching up more than 24,000 recent voter registrations, including 1,500 non-citizens who may have been registered to vote by a processing error. He said, "What we have done, as soon as we heard about it, is we immediately took action and cancelled the registration of those 1,400 to 1,500 individuals. They are being taken off the rolls. Those mistakes from DMV are absolutely not acceptable."

He says he is exploring the option of freezing the "motor voter" program designed to get more people casting ballots. Officials are asking voters to report any unusual things they notice online or in polling places.

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