The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is convening an Election Day operations center with election security partners from across government and the private sector, a senior agency official said Tuesday. The agency is linked virtually with election officials in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories to facilitate sharing of information and respond if any issues emerge.
There are currently “no specific and credible threats to disrupt election infrastructure” and CISA maintains “high confidence in the security and resilience of the elections,” the senior CISA official told reporters.
The official conceded that there will likely be issues. “There are 8,800 election jurisdictions — we see issues pop up every Election Day,” said the official.
CISA has not yet identified nor attributed any malicious cyber activity targeting election infrastructure, but the official warned there may be “low-level cyber activity,” such as denial of service attacks and defacement of websites.
“We may see election related website outages for completely innocuous reasons,” the official noted. “It’s important to remember that such activity would not affect a person’s ability to cast a ballot or know that their ballot was counted accurately, and that the election is secure.”
In response to Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin’s admission on Monday that he had interfered in U.S. elections and would do so in the future, the CISA official said Russia’s “playbook is out there” and the agency will continue to partner with officials to safeguard elections.
The official noted that key players remain Russia, Iran and China. While Russia began its meddling in 2016, the official noted that Iran ramped up its influence operations in 2020. “Then in 2022, we observed China participating in influence behavior,” the official said.
Asked to elaborate on China’s actions, the official pointed to previous announcements by the Department of Justice and Meta, the parent company of Facebook.
“My point is… we have observed new participants who did not really engage in 2020 willing to engage in election influence in 2022,” the official said.
The agency is aware of potential issues with voting machines in Virginia, the official said, saying CISA has “been in touch.” The agency has heard of isolated, routine issues in the state, “but nothing that suggests a widespread outage of voting systems.”
CISA will continue to update its “Rumor vs. Reality” blog to combat any misinformation or disinformation surrounding the election, the official added.