US military and intelligence entities are renewing their efforts to protect electoral procedures from hacking and disinformation before and during the November midterms elections.
The news comes from the US Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) and the National Security Agency (NSA), who published a joint blog post detailing their security capabilities on Thursday.
“This is an enduring, no-fail mission for [USCYBERCOM] and the [NSA], who bring unique insights and actions to the whole-of-government effort,” explained NSA director Paul M. Nakasone. “Together, we bring speed and unity of effort against any foreign adversary who might seek to undermine our democratic institutions.”
The Election Security Group (ESG) operates under the guidance of USCYBERCOM’s co-lead and deputy commander of cyber national mission force Victor Macias and Anna Horrigan, NSA’s senior executive and election security co-lead.
“The ESG team is comprised of some of the best and brightest in this field,” Horrigan said, commenting on the team’s work to date. “We are building on previous successes while also maximizing our strong relationships and synchronizing often – enabling the U.S. to respond rapidly to election threats.”
According to the executive, ESG’s primary goals are to monitor and research foreign adversaries who may interfere with or influence elections. The group also bolsters domestic defense by sharing information with allied partners and imposing sanctions on foreign actors who seek to undermine democratic processes.
“In the complex cyberspace domain we operate in, we have to consider both the adversary threat landscape and the scale of technological advancements,” Macias explained. “These adversaries use discrete cyber operations to achieve their strategic objectives and operate below the threshold of armed conflict. It’s our job to disrupt them.”
More information about ESG is available in the original NSA/USCYBERCOM post. The partnership comes weeks after the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) compiled and released a list of free cybersecurity tools for the election community.