U.S. and State officials hosted regional election cyber security workshop

According to officials with U.S. Homeland security Cyber attacks on campaign and elections are quote “wider and more pervasive” in 2022. Authorities on the subject came together for online workshop this afternoon to teach Tennesseans how they can make a difference.

Cyber security in our elections is a topic that has center stage within the last couple of years.

Tennessee’s Secretary of State Tre Hargett said because of this the challenge is no longer just provide secure voting but addressing misinformation about the system

“Not only do we have to battle actual threats to our election infrastructure, we have to combat the perception thesScreenshot 20220818 170101 Video Playere systems have been compromised. That’s why it’s never been more important for us to make sure we share credible information when you share something about elections on social media use trusted sources such as your state and county election officials. And we all play a role in protecting our election process,” said Hargett. ”

Kim Wyman is the senior election security lead for the U.S. Cybersecurity Agency. Wyman said there are several ways to make a difference, these can include having strong passwords, being aware of phishing trends, and keeping devices updated to avoid ransomware.

“we also are seeing an uptick, really across the spectrum of it, not just in elections of ransomware. That seems to be a threat that was here before, but I think we’re seeing much more activity in the ransomware arena, and it’s hitting county governments, local governments, and certainly has a potential for election offices,” said Wyman.

Dr. Cliff Newman is a cyber security specialist. He elaborated on the terminology ransomware and explained simple tips for securing voter information.

“Ransomware is an example of malicious code. In this case, when it ends up installed on your system will block or encrypt the data on your device and then demand a ransom to give you access to that data,” said Newman. “The other thing that happens in the case of ransomware is oftentimes they’ll threaten to release the data unless you pay ransom. So the basic thing here is you want to avoid this malicious code from being installed on your device. Typically, it ends up installed on computers because you click on a bad link, maybe it was a link in a phishing email, for example. In order for that link to have triggered the download of code to your device, and the execution of that code, it needs to exploit certain vulnerabilities on your system. This is why it is important to keep your system software update.”

Other tips include using a strong password, but a password by itself is not going to be very strong, because it’s a word. Adversaries already have a list of all these passwords, the dictionary. That’s why it is advised not to use a word that is in the dictionary, or something that is otherwise readily accessible.

Phishing is a popular method for hackers to obtain data. It’s a method of gathering personal information like paVideocapture 20220818 170148sswords, or credit card numbers using deceptive emails, websites, applications,or text messages. Phishing is the number one way that hackers gain access. It can be very difficult to detect phishing schemes. There some sites that trick almost half the users they are presented, according to Newman.

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