Federal, state agencies monitor Pa. voting system for election fraud

Written by Brett Sholtis/WITF News | May 15, 2018 2:46 PM
Torres Pic.jpg

Pennsylvania Department of State Acting Secretary Robert Torres speaks at a press event concerning election security May 15, 2018. (Brett Sholtis/WITF News)

With the Pennsylvania primary underway, state officials are working with the federal Department of Homeland Security to protect voting systems from hacking.

Senior Department of Homeland Security official Chris Krebs visited Harrisburg and spoke at a press briefing on election security. In his current role, Krebs is performing the duties of the undersecretary for DHS's National Protection and Programs Directorate .

Krebs said there's never been successful election hacking in Pennsylvania, and he's working with the Pennsylvania Department of State to keep it that way.

His agency has been helping to identify and fix weaknesses in Pennsylvania's voting system.

"What we're looking to do is help the jurisdictions address some of the vulnerabilities so that those easier traditional attacks are not going to be available to the attackers," Krebs said.

Krebs said it's "very clear" Russian hackers targeted voting systems and state websites around the country in 2016. Krebs, as well as Department of State Acting Secretary Robert Torres, said there is no specific intel on threats during the primary or the November mid-terms. 

To be clear, Pennsylvania's voting machines aren't connected to the internet, said Wanda Murren, Department of State spokeswoman. However, hackers could still target state websites such as the voter registration database. 

Murren said there are several layers of protection set up to keep that data safe. 

Torres said voters should feel confident that their votes are being counted and do matter.

Protecting websites from online attacks is something state agencies face year-round, not just during elections, Torres said. "I think what we're trying to prevent is that the voters lose confidence in the integrity of the election."


Published in Harrisburg, News

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