The Center for Internet Security (CIS) has announced that they will be launching a new testing program this year to increase the security of technology used during United States elections. With nearly one-third of all voting jurisdictions using electronic poll books in 2020, the new program aims to provide a uniform testing process and increase voter confidence, while guarding against foreign governments targeting technology systems, misinformation campaigns, and data errors and manipulation.
The CIS is a non-profit organization that focuses on providing cybersecurity training to government entities, schools, small business owners, and other organizations. The organization was founded in 2000 and has since been funded by federal and private money. The pilot for the new testing program was supported by Democracy Fund, a non-profit organization focused on promoting fair and accurate elections. The testing program will eventually be completely funded by fees paid by technology providers.
According to the CIS, the new testing program will aim to not only assess the security of the technology but also to create and promote best practices in election security. The testing program will provide a comprehensive list of security requirements, as well as guidelines for proper implementation and management of the technology. The program will also create a voluntary service for election officials to join ahead of the 2024 presidential election. The service will allow officials to test their technology in a simulated election environment, identify problems and areas of weakness, and receive assistance from the CIS to improve their security measures.
The new testing program comes after several high-profile incidents during the 2020 U.S. presidential election, including misinformation campaigns and issues with electronic poll books. By providing a uniform testing process, the CIS hopes that the new program will increase voter confidence and prevent foreign governments from interfering in U.S elections.
The CIS notes that the testing program will also provide benefits for technology providers. Providers who pass the CIS’s testing process will be able to advertise their products as meeting CIS’s security standards, which may improve their reputation and business prospects. Providers who do not pass may seek assistance from the CIS to improve their security measures.
In addition to the voluntary service for election officials, the CIS plans to create a database of tested technology providers to help officials make more informed decisions when selecting technology for their elections. The database will provide information on which providers have passed the CIS’s testing process, and which have not.
The new testing program has received support from various government officials and cybersecurity experts. David Becker, the executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, stated that the testing program is “an important step towards ensuring our election systems are secure and trustworthy.” The program has also received support from election officials in various states.
Overall, the new testing program from the CIS aims to increase the security and reliability of technology used in U.S elections. By providing a uniform testing process and encouraging best practices in election security, the CIS hopes to prevent foreign interference and increase voter confidence. With the 2024 presidential election quickly approaching, election officials are encouraged to consider joining the voluntary service to test their technology and improve their security measures.