US Cyber Command, NSA team to keep elections secure

By Jonathan Nally
Thursday, 30 January, 2020

US Cyber Command, NSA team to keep elections secure

As the US election cycle begins to heat up, the nation’s civil and military IT security leaders are making it clear that they will be proactive in fighting back against anyone who intends to interfere with the process.

US Cyber Command’s Brigadier-General William Hartman and the National Security Agency’s (NSA) David Imbordino, the co-leads of the Command and Agency’s joint Election Security Group, outlined their thoughts during a panel discussion on Tuesday, 28 January (US time).

“We have a responsibility to do our part to ensure we understand how to secure our own democratic processes based on best info [intelligence] we can possibly produce,” said Hartman, who heads USCYBERCOM’s Cyber National Mission Force, which plans and conducts cyber operations aimed at disrupting adversaries.

Imbordino outlined how NSA generates insights and shares them with partner agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.

Those and other government agencies then liaise with private companies such as social media firms to enable them to tackle any suspicious or malicious behaviour.

Hartman also spoke about USCYBERCOM’s ability and intent to adopt an offensive posture where necessary, which includes ‘hunt forward’ operations conducted by military experts… often using information gathered by the NSA’s foreign signals intelligence operations.

“We are able to work with partner nations and receive invites to execute operations in their countries,” said Hartman, adding that small units ‘broker access’ to networks an adversary has infiltrated.

“We are laser focused on any foreign adversaries trying to interfere with our election process,” Hartman said.

Pictured: Brigadier-General William Hartman and the NSA's Dave Imbordino speaking at the USC Election Security forum, 28 January. Courtesy NSA.

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