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At Homeland Security Committee Hearing, Senator Hassan Highlights Importance of Bolstering Election Security as 2018 Midterm Elections Get Underway

HSGAC Release

Click here to watch the Senator’s questions. 

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan today participated in a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on mitigating cybersecurity risks, where she highlighted the importance of bolstering election security as the 2018 midterm elections get underway. The Senator also reiterated the need to strengthen security around the Internet of Things.  

“I am very concerned about election security, I do think it’s the bedrock of our democracy and I think we have to take it incredibly seriously,” Senator Hassan opened her remarks.

Emphasizing how several states have already held primaries and more will do so in the coming weeks, Senator Hassan asked Jeanette Manfra, Assistant Secretary at the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) if DHS “has detected any cyber activity targeting election infrastructure by Russia or any other actors during this election season?” to which Ms. Manfra replied, “We have not at this time.” The Senator urged the Department of Homeland Security to continue reaching out to states in order to work together to strengthen security around election infrastructure.

The Senator also emphasized the need to strengthen cybersecurity around the Internet of Things, discussing the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act, of which she is a cosponsor. The bill, introduced by Senator Mark Warner, requires that any internet-connected device purchased by the federal government must adhere to specific minimum cybersecurity standards, which will help incentivize private companies to improve their cyber standards.

When asked by Senator Hassan about the role the bill can play in having the government lead the way on Internet of Things security and pushing the consumer market to step up its security efforts, Mr. Eric Rosenbach, who previously served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy responded, “I’ve looked at the bill and I am a very strong believer in improving the security of the Internet of Things. I think you always need to be careful about a regulatory approach, but from my professional perspective many of the things that you lay out in that bill I think are very strong and we need to do something in this space given the tremendous growth of devices that are connected to the internet.”

As a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Senator Hassan has been working across party lines to bolster cybersecurity in order to protect the privacy and safety of Granite Staters and Americans. In addition to cosponsoring the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act, Senator Hassan introduced the Hack DHS Act to establish a bug bounty pilot program – modeled off of similar programs at the Department of Defense and major tech companies – that uses vetted “white-hat” or ethical hackers to help identify unique and undiscovered vulnerabilities in the DHS networks and information technology. The Hack DHS Act recently unanimously passed the Senate.