Cybersecurity under fire: CISA’s former deputy director decries post-election…

Matt Travis talks about CISA’s role in the recent US elections and how President Trump and his surrogates have politicized the security function.

Matt Travis, the former deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), kicked off this year’s Aspen Cyber Summit yesterday with a keynote interview by journalist Kara Swisher. Travis provided an insider’s view of the events leading up to the firing of CISA director Christopher Krebs and discussed the fallout from President Donald Trump’s attempts to undermine the agency.

The just-concluded president election represented “the most secure election in American history,” according to Krebs. Despite this achievement, or perhaps because of it, Krebs was summarily fired by Donald Trump via a tweet on November 17. Before Krebs was dismissed, the White House asked for the resignation of Brian Ware, the highly regarded assistant director for cybersecurity for CISA. After Krebs’ forced departure, Matt Travis, CISA deputy director and Krebs’ right-hand man at CISA, resigned from the agency.

On Sunday, Krebs, a lifelong Republican, told 60 Minutes’ Scott Pelley that he has complete confidence in the election outcome. He dismissed as conspiracy theories some of Trump’s increasingly convoluted stories of how President-Elect Joe Biden “stole” the election. Krebs said that Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani’s promotion of unproven election fraud was an “attempt to undermine confidence in the election, to confuse people, to scare people.”

Following the 60 Minutes interview, another Trump attorney, Joseph DiGenova, said that Krebs should be “taken out and shot” for contradicting Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. Yesterday, Krebs told CBS’s Savannah Guthrie that he is looking into potential legal action following DiGenova’s bald threat. Alex Stamos, former Facebook CISO and founder of the Stanford Internet Observatory, filed a complaint against DiGenova with the DC Bar’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel and encouraged his fellow infosec peers to do the same.

This article appeared in CSO Online. To read the rest of the article please visit here.



Election security status: Some progress on ballot integrity, but…

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With the election less than two months away, government and election officials say voting itself is more secure, but Russian disinformation remains largely unaddressed.

The presidential election in 2016 was a wake-up call that the security of the country’s election infrastructure can never again be considered a sure thing. During the last presidential campaign, Russia hacked into the Democratic National Committee’s network and stole emails from Clinton campaign officials while also breaking into at least two county voting systems in Florida. Those digital security attacks took place alongside destructive disinformation campaigns that ran on vulnerable and unprepared social media networks.

At this year’s Billington Cybersecurity Summit, 55 days before the next presidential election, experts weighed in on the progress, or lack thereof, that the US has made in securing America’s elections since 2016.

Chris Krebs, head of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), told attendees that three-and-a-half years after he joined the agency it has “turned the corner in a really meaningful way” on cybersecurity. “We’re working in all 50 states on a regular basis to share information, to secure their systems, to ensure that they have all the resources they need to be prepared, whether it’s a COVID environment or non-COVID environment.”

Matthew Masterson, senior cybersecurity advisor at CISA, says his group is hard at work on supporting the more than 8,800 officials who run the country’s elections. Many of the voting jurisdictions are small but many election offices represent the largest IT operations in their counties in terms of total number of assets.

This article appeared in CSO Online. To read the rest of the article please visit here.

Photo by Kari Sullivan on Unsplash