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06/19/2019

Pennsylvania Participates in U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security’s Cyber Training to Secure Elections

Harrisburg, Pa. – As part of the continuous effort to strengthen election security, Pennsylvania and county officials participated today in a national cyber training hosted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

"Pennsylvania welcomes opportunities like these tabletops to test our state's election security measures and layered defenses," said Acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar. "These exercises provide us with an invaluable opportunity to test our response plans and share best practices among our federal, state and local partners."

The Tabletop the Vote 2019 exercise helps election, information technology and security personnel in training for cyber incident response by simulating scenarios that could impact voting operations. Participants reviewed best practices and areas of improvement in cyber incident planning, identification, response and recovery.

The Inter-Agency Election Preparedness and Security Workgroup participated in the exercise. Governor Wolf created the workgroup in July 2018 to coordinate election security. The member agencies include the Departments of State and Military and Veterans Affairs, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Pennsylvania State Police and the offices of Administration, Governor, and State Inspector General.

The training is a follow-up to DHS' national Tabletop the Vote 2018 training exercise held in August 2018. The inter-agency workgroup conducted two additional trainings for state and county partners last year.

In addition to providing free crisis preparedness and cybersecurity training to counties, the commonwealth has strengthened already tight election security and intensified local, state and federal partnerships. The Department of State works closely with all 67 county boards of elections, as well as state and federal experts, to ensure the security and integrity of Pennsylvania's election process. Some of the many measures in use include:  

  • directing all PA counties to select new voting systems that provide a paper record by the end of 2019, to ensure that voters can verify before casting their ballot
  • encryption of voter registration data hosted by the department
  • a layered set of protections to secure the state voter registration database
  • continuous monitoring of the commonwealth's technical environment
  • frequent independent vulnerability assessments of commonwealth networks, applications and systems
  • free anti-phishing and security awareness training software provided to counties.

The commonwealth also works with county boards of elections, the Pennsylvania National Guard, the Center for Internet Security and other key partners to maintain and enhance the security of Pennsylvania's election process.

For more information on election security in Pennsylvania, visit votesPA.com.

MEDIA CONTACT:    Wanda Murren, 717-783-1621

 

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