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Cuomo Will Toughen State Election Security In Response To Russian Hacking Indictments

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced state plans to upgrade election system security in light of this week's indictments of 12 Russians for hacking into Hillary Clinton's campaign emails as well as an undisclosed state election system. Photo Credit: Contributed
Hillary Clinton, pictured at her voting space in Chappaqua, where she cast her vote for president. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New Castle announced on Tuesday, July 16 that New York will toughen its barriers to electronic hacking in light of the federal indictments of Russians who reportedly hacked Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign emails. 

Cuomo proposed a comprehensive initiative with the state Board of Elections to further secure New York State's elections infrastructure and protect against foreign interference. 

The initiative will help county Boards of Elections strengthen their election cyber security in the face of foreign threats after the Department of Justice this week released an indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking during the 2016 elections, which also alleged that Russian intelligence officers hacked into the website of a yet-unidentified state board of elections.

In the Fiscal Year 2019 budget, Cuomo secured $5 million to expand and further support statewide election cyber security infrastructure. 

The State will solicit contracts in the next few days for three independent services for county Boards of Elections, including: 1) cyber security risk assessments; 2) enhanced intrusion detection devices; and 3) managed security services. The State's Secure Election Center, managed by the state Board of Elections, will also provide statewide, uniform cyber security training to all state and county election officials and staff prior to the Midterm Elections.

"While President Trump stands by those who seek to undermine our democracy, New York is taking aggressive action to protect our elections from foreign interference," Cuomo said. "There is nothing more sacred than democracy, and New Yorkers should know that when they cast their ballot that their vote is safe. The groundbreaking cyber security initiative we launch today will harden and protect our election infrastructure from the very real threat of foreign meddling. While the President has abdicated his responsibility to defend this country and left our electoral system open to sabotage by foreign adversaries, New York is fighting back and leading the way."

The State will execute contracts beginning the first week of August through the Office of General Services on behalf of the State Board of Elections.

The state Board of Elections will contract for professional services to conduct a comprehensive, uniform and verified risk assessment at every County Board of Elections. 

Additionally, the State Board of Elections will contract for a vendor to provide enhanced intrusion detection systems and managed security services for all the County Boards of Elections. 

State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Roger Parrino said, "Security of our election process is paramount. These initiatives support our state and local partners to strengthen our election cyber infrastructure from those who seek to manipulate our election process."

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