CISA has published a trove of information about election cybersecurity and misinformation for Election Day. Voters in dozens of states are heading to the polls today, with crucial gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia as well as pivotal mayoral elections in Atlanta, New York City, Buffalo and Boston.
The cybersecurity body reiterated that there is "no specific, credible threat to election infrastructure" but noted that they are "ready to provide cyber incident response and expertise if needed."
CISA created an "Election Security Rumor vs Reality" page to debunk rumors and misinformation that float around the internet. The agency has been forced to address numerous conspiracy theories and misinformation -- sometimes from elected officials themselves -- since the 2020 presidential election.
CISA said that with more than 30 states voting on a variety of positions and referendums, they decided to host an election situational awareness room that allows them to "coordinate with federal partners, state and local election officials, private sector election partners, and political organizations to share real-time information and provide support as needed."
"CISA has supported state and local election officials to help secure their systems and push back against malicious actors seeking to disrupt our democratic process and interfere in our elections," CISA election security initiative director Geoff Hale said.
"We look forward to continuing this work in collaboration with our election partners to ensure the security and resilience of elections in 2021 and beyond."
This will be the first election held under the watch of new CISA director Jen Easterly, who urged people to visit the CISA website "to help debunk election security mis-, dis-, and malinformation that aims to undermine public confidence in the electoral process."
Election security has been a contentious issue in the US since the 2016 election. Multiple US intelligence agencies confirmed that the Russian government and others launched various attacks on election security systems alongside efforts to spread disinformation.
The FBI was forced to release new guidelines in 2020 on how it will approach cyberattacks on elections after facing years of criticism from lawmakers across the country for their response to the Russian intrusion attempts during the 2016 election.
The Senate Intelligence Committee concluded in 2019 that Russia targeted election systems in all 50 states in 2016. No votes were changed, but state officials, particularly those in Florida, were incensed when the Mueller Report revealed that two county voting databases were breached by Russian hackers ahead of the 2016 election.
The FBI never told state-level officials and only coordinated with people in the counties that had been hit, waiting nearly two years until meeting and explaining the situation to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.