HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut’s top election official said Thursday that the state is beefing up security to guard against any disruption by foreign agents during this year’s midterm elections.
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced a series of steps her office is taking, including joining a federal government center that will help with cyberdefense and threat monitoring.
“We are working with the federal government and our fellow state election officials to share information, create best practices and monitor cyberactivity,” Merrill, a Democrat, said in a statement. “We are committed to making Connecticut the gold standard in election cybersecurity.”
Connecticut was among 21 states whose election systems were targeted in hacking efforts by Russian agents during the 2016 election. Connecticut officials said security measures at the time successfully defended the state’s online voter registration system.
Federal authorities have accused Russia of meddling in the 2016 election, while Special Counsel Robert Mueller is leading a criminal probe into whether there was any coordination during the presidential campaign between Russia and associates of President Donald Trump.
Merrill also said she and other state officials recently received security clearance to receive detailed election security briefings from the federal Department of Homeland Security. She also is asking the legislature for funding for a new expert cybersecurity team within her office.
The state recently joined the federal Election Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center, which Merrill said will bolster the state’s existing election cybersecurity infrastructure. The center will give Connecticut access to cyberdefense services including threat and vulnerability monitoring as well as a 24-hour-a-day security operations center that can provide help with any problems.
The state already is taking advantage of cybersecurity protections as a member of a multistate information sharing and analysis center.