Election day attacks: NJ keeps eye on polling places, misinfo and power grid
Security is being beefed up on a number of fronts for Tuesday’s election in New Jersey.
While law enforcement officials will be on standby for any reported problems at polling locations, a small army of technology experts at the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell will be monitoring online activity for any signs of trouble.
Mike Geraghty, New Jersey’s chief information security officer and director of the NJCCIC said his team is working with federal, state, county, local and private sector parties to ensure a safe and secure election.
While there are no specific or credible threats against New Jersey's "election infrastructure" at the moment, this is about being ready.
“We are confident that the controls, processes and contingencies we have in place will help ensure that we’ll have another safe and secure election cycle.”
Tracking misinformation and threats
He said they are keeping a careful eye on any activity that could cause an issue for voters, including “the misinformation, the malinformation, the disinformation, and all that chatter that’s online in social media by all sorts of different groups.”
They are also watching for possible cyberattacks.
“These would be attacks against state government systems, the counties, we work with them to monitor and alert their networks, alert them to suspicious and malicious activity on their networks," he said.
He said they are also watching to make sure there are no threats being posted to any polling location.
Geraghty said his Integration Cell is “working with the utility companies and the Board of Public Utilities to make sure there are no power outages, or to minimize the effects of any power outages that may happen on Election Day.”
He pointed out all sorts of wild and inaccurate claims and information may be posted so “be suspicious of anything that’s posted online, especially by groups that you don’t know, as you don’t know their motivations for posting it.”
Are the voting machines safe?
He stressed the machines used to tally votes in New Jersey cannot be hacked by bad actors.
“None of the voting machines that people will vote on are connected to the internet,” he said.
He pointed out there is an operational voter registration website in New Jersey, “however all they can do is look up information and do those types of things, all the other stuff is protected, that’s not accessible by the public internet.”
Geraghty added if you notice something unusual or become aware of a problem you can report it at 1-866-4-SAFE-NJ, or send an email to email@example.com.