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The Cyber Threat On Election Day: No need to panic, expect some nuisance attacks and exaggerated reporting in press

Bob Gourley

Everything I'm seeing and hearing in the security community says there is no need to panic about cyber attacks on election day. There will be attacks, but guess what? There are attacks every day now, that is the new normal. More specifically, we can say there will likely be some nuisance attacks against election infrastructure and some of those will be reported in the press. But I have not seen any scenario that leads to the conclusion that these attacks will have any impact on the election.

Note: I think it is wrong that nations have attacked and stolen information from political campaigns and political organizations and very wrong that some voter registration lists have been stolen. All indications are that Russia did things against our institutions and campaigns that were overly hostile and not in our interests and there is no excuse for their actions.  At the lower end of the attack scale, it is also wrong when script kiddies find lucky vulnerabilities anywhere to exploit and we can expect to see some of that on election day. But whatever happens, there is no need for panic. Any word of attack should be analyzed in context of the current state of the Internet and our voting infrastructure.

I am a little more concerned with the possibility of DDoS attacks on election day. These would likely not be targeted against voting infrastructure, but against the press. Attacks against newspaper sites, magazine sites, TV stations and radio stations, as well as individual journalists, should be expected. While probably just at a nuisance level (we live in times of extreme technological hooliganism), any attack against our press should be seen as an attack against a key institution in our nation and prosecuted fully.

If you are wondering what can be done to help mitigate DDoS attacks, see our list of recommendation for Home Users, Business Users and Local, State, Federal Governments.

Do you have thoughts on what cyber attacks to expect 8 Nov? If so please share.

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Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder and partner at Cognitio Corp and publsher of CTOvision.com