Midterm elections: a preliminary cybersecurity retrospective.
The US Department of Homeland Security has said that Tuesday’s elections went off without disruption by cyberattack (TheHill), and that seems a fair assessment. Preparations are underway to bring comparable levels of security forward into the 2020 election cycle (AP News).
So hacking proper appears to have been a fizzle, but there were some influence operations in play. DHS notes that disinformation about election security and the effects of influence operations is still being actively distributed (CBS). It’s hogwash from St. Petersburg, whose Internet Research Agency (IRA) cries victory for its trolls.
DHS cybersecurity leader Christopher Krebs points out that the influence ops from Russia right now are filled with “noise” and “garbage,” stuffing people up with phony stories about compromised systems and voting having been cyber-rigged. Expect this to continue, and remember that Moscow’s record suggests that it has a fairly simple and achievable goal: erode adversary populations’ trust in their governments’ institutions, and in one another (Daily Beast).
For all of that trolling noise and garbage, Russia sent two election observers to the US to keep an eye out for irregularities in the voting on behalf of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, because who better to certify good-government, free-and-fair elections than two members of the Duma (Washington Post)? The two observers looked in at two polling places in DC and seven in adjacent Maryland, and assured the OSCE that they saw no irregularities (TASS). (Of course, that's what Moscow would have the OSCE believe. Kidding. On to 2020.)