Rebuttal to NBC concerning attempts to hack Iowa’s voter registration system

Iowa’s Secretary of State is taking exception to NBC’s report and he wants Iowa’s county auditors & commissioners of elections to know the facts. The one fact that no one seems to dispute: Iowa was a target in 2016. Read on. –Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

From: Kline, Ken [SOS] [] Sent: Thursday, February 15, 2018 11:18 AM

County Auditors:

You have seen recent reports from NBC News about attempted election hacking in 2016. Secretary Pate wants to ensure that you have accurate information so that you have a good understanding of the issues, and are able to answer questions you may receive.

First and foremost, there have been no unauthorized intrusions into Iowa’s voter registration system. Prior to the 2016 General Election, persons in the Russian government scanned the Secretary of State’s public website, which is not connected to the voter registration system. Security experts liken a scan of this type to a burglar who drives through a neighborhood looking for an easy house to break in, as opposed to hacking, which would be an intrusion or break-in. Because the scan was done on the public website, and not the voter registration system, the “burglars” were not even driving through the right neighborhood. Again, there have been no unauthorized intrusions into Iowa’s voter registration system.

The NBC story includes inaccuracies, and even contradicts itself in the first two paragraphs. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Association of Secretaries of State have strongly criticized the NBC report:

Secretary Pate takes cybersecurity seriously, and this office partners with the OCIO’s Chief Information Security Officer, the Iowa Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission, MS-ISAC (Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center), and others to ensure system and data integrity. Additionally, Secretary Pate is a member of the Government Coordinating Council for Elections Infrastructure Subsector. This group was established in October 2017 to shape how the DHS critical infrastructure designation for elections is administered at both the state and local levels. Our IT Department is vigilant in protecting the voter registration database, employing continuous monitoring and numerous protections to keep the system secure.

It is important for the public to know that this office – in partnership with the county auditors – is committed to safeguarding the Iowa’s election infrastructure. News stories based on inaccurate information serve only to undermine public confidence in our elections.

We will continue to keep you informed and to work with you on best practices regarding cybersecurity. If you have any questions or need more information, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Ken Kline
Deputy Commissioner of Elections
Elections and Voter Registration

Office of Iowa Secretary of State Paul D. Pate

(515) 242-5071
%d bloggers like this: