Federal officials haven’t found evidence of hacking in the midterms, but they’re still bracing for 2020.
Officials say there were “no obvious voting system compromises” during the midterm elections this year, reports The Associated Press. There was an increase in the reporting of possible cyber threats since 2016, but that’s largely because of “better awareness” since 2016, intelligence officials said.
Still, that doesn’t mean that the country’s voting systems aren’t still vulnerable to attacks, and AP notes that officials are “wondering whether foreign agents are saving their ammunition for the 2020 presidential showdown or planning a late-stage misinformation campaign to claim Tuesday’s election had been tainted.”
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said that foreign agents have “shown will” and “the capability” to interfere, declining to speculate on “why they’re doing or not doing something.” None of this is to say there was no attempted interference at all this year, though, as there’s also the matter of foreign entities attempting to spread false news on social media.
The Department of Homeland Security’s head of cybersecurity said that for foreign agents, the midterms were “not the big game.” That would be the 2020 presidential election. Between now and then, experts warn that actions must be taken in order to secure the country’s election systems, pointing to outdated software used by a number of states that leaves them vulnerable to intrusions. Brendan Morrow