Kansas Works With Feds to Protect Elections From Hackers

by | September 1, 2016

By Bryan Lowry

Kansas is carefully monitoring cyberthreats and partnering with federal agencies to ensure the security of its voter database, the state's director of elections says, as the FBI investigates security breaches of voter databases in Illinois and Arizona.

Bryan Caskey, the state's director of elections, said he participated last week in a conference call with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and election officials from other states "about threats that had been collected at the national level concerning election systems."

"We're heavily invested in this and paying attention," Caskey said.

The security breaches in Arizona and Illinois took place earlier this summer and, in the case of Illinois, compromised the personal data of up to 200,000 voters.

The Arizona hack was more limited, but both states had to temporarily shut down their voter systems in response to the security breaches. The FBI believes Arizona was targeted by Russian hackers, according to the Washington Post.

Caskey said Kansas uses the same software vendor as Arizona does -- Election Systems and Software -- for its database but has "at least one significant layer of security above what Arizona does."

Caskey said he has high confidence that the state's voter data is secure.

"I'm concerned about it (the hacks) because I'm concerned about everything all the time, but I'm not any more concerned than normal, because I think that we take security very seriously," Caskey said. "We're participating with the feds, we're reviewing everything, we're using state IT resources to help check for vulnerabilities."

(c)2016 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.)