US afraid of attacks by foreign hackers and ransomware attacks during presidential election

Within a month, the US government plans to launch a program whose focus will be on protecting voters’ databases and voting systems from hackers during the presidential election in 2020.

US government considers ransomware programs to be the main threat to the upcoming elections.

At the same time, US authorities possess evidence that Russia attacked the systems responsible for checking citizens’ votes.

According to analysts, Russian hackers wanted to collect as much useful information as possible. Representatives of the special services are sure that same foreign intelligence forces will try to do the same with the 2020 elections. Moreover, CIA has reason to believe that foreign cybercriminals will also try to manipulate databases or destroy important information.

“We consider the possible compromise of voting systems as a high-risk situation. This is because these systems constitute one of the few constituent parts of the electoral process that is constantly connected to the Network”, – said US officials.

The Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) as well as the US Department of Homeland Security are concerned about possible ransomware attacks that encrypt or destroy sensitive files.

Christopher Krebs
Christopher Krebs

“Recent incidents have shown that government systems can be an easy target for ransomware. That is why we are now working with partners to ensure database security and to respond to ransomware attacks”, – said Christopher Krebs, director of CISA, addressing public concerns.

Ransomware attack usually blocks an infected computer system until a payment is sent to the hacker, usually in the form of a cryptocurrency.

Read also: Neutrino Botnet Seizes Web Shells of Other Hackers

According to current and former U.S. officials, efforts to counter cyber-attacks by ransomware targeted at the polls linked with the intelligence community’s directive to determine the most likely digital attack directions in the November 2020 elections.

“It is imperative that states and municipalities limit the availability of information about electoral systems or administrative processes and secure their websites and databases that could be exploited”, – the FBI said in a statement, supporting the Homeland Security initiative.

CISA’s program will reach out to state election officials to prepare for such a ransomware scenario. It will provide educational material, remote computer penetration testing, and vulnerability scans as well as a list of recommendations on how to prevent and recover from ransomware.
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Daniel Zimmermann

Daniel Zimmermann has been writing on security and malware subjects for many years and has been working in the security industry for over 10 years. Daniel was educated at the Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany and currently lives in New York.

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