The Journal Gazette
Saturday, September 14, 2019 1:00 am

County boosts election security

Allen, Huntington among 8 in pilot program

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

In a 2-0 vote Friday, the Allen County commissioners approved an agreement with the Indiana secretary of state and FireEye Inc. for a cybersecurity system for elections. 

It's part of a program for all of Indiana's 92 counties, said Ed Steenman, the county's director of technology.

Allen County was picked to be one of eight pilot counties where the program will be deployed by Oct. 1. Huntington County is also one of the eight counties, Steenman said.

“This program, the bulk of it is a network appliance that we'll get installed on our network to watch for illegal, malformed network traffic,” he said. “It's specifically for elections, but since our election board and our voter registration reside on the same network as everyone else in the city and county, we all get to take advantage of it.”

It's a three-year program, where the device and services are provided free of charge through 2022. It's paid for through a grant authorized by the Help Americans Vote Act, Steenman said. The device has arrived and will be installed next week. 

The program will also provide election board and voter registration workers end-point security, which is software installed on workers' personal computers to avoid malware, to make sure no one disturbs the voting functions over the next three years. 

“The only thing they really ask of us is cooperation in getting the device installed,” Steenman said. “There is a protocol we have to follow if there is an event.”

FireEye will monitor the system remotely, Steenman said, adding the system will be an added benefit on top of protections already in place. 

Voting machines themselves are not attached to any network and operate independently of each other to prevent tampering. 

Commissioner Nelson Peters was absent Friday.

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