Homeland Security: Election security concerns reaching ‘unprecedented’ levels

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States Department of Homeland Security is raising the alarm about the concerns they have about unprecedented threats to the midterm elections.


Jen Easterly, Director of DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, says they have a wide range of worries right now.

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Their concerns include cyber hacks, and the impact misinformation is having on our society in the long-run.

“It’s a more complex environment than we’ve ever experienced,” Easterly said.

With six days left before midterm election day, candidates are pumping out messages and social media campaigns at a blistering pace.

“You have insider threats from those who have institutionalized knowledge,” Easterly told a group of cyber security experts about the latest information they’re getting on the threats we face heading into election day. “You have those horrible physical security concerns that are at an unprecedented level.”

State parties for both Democrats and Republicans have been warned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation about Chinese hackers potentially scanning election systems, looking for vulnerabilities.

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“It’s a significant concern because you think about these adversaries that are trying to sow discord, that are trying to break us apart as Americans,” Easterly said.

Former White House Cyber Policy Director Chris Painter says it’s something he’s seen before.

“I think what they’re doing is exploiting existing divisions in our society, and they’re very good at that,” Painter said.

Painter says the government has made important changes, but that people must do more to question what they see and hear.

“I think there’s a hell of a lot more that we need to do,” Painter said. “I think that part of that is not just the government, it’s also the private sector.”

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Cybersecurity officials say they’re also worried about violence or intimidation against election officials or people who work at polls.

They say local law enforcement will play a key role in helping people feel safe on election day.

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