#Protect2020


#PROTECT2020 is a national call to action initiated by CISA, the lead federal agency responsible for national election security, to enhance the integrity and resilience of the Nation’s election infrastructure, and ensure the confidentiality, truthfulness, and accuracy of the free and fair elections necessary for our American way of life. This page is a starting point for resources on election security for the public as well as election officials at all levels. Read the #Protect2020 Strategic Plan.

Announcements

September 11: CISA is conducting a limited pilot of Crossfeed, an asset discovery tool used to monitor and gather information about vulnerabilities on public-facing election infrastructure assets. Crossfeed collects data from a variety of open source tools, publicly-available resources, and data feeds to provide actionable information about election assets so participating entities can harden such infrastructure in the face of aggressive cyber adversaries. For more information, click here.

Election Risk Tool buttonSeptember 2: Today, CISA in partnership with Election Assistance Commission (EAC), released the Election Risk Profile Tool, a user-friendly assessment tool for state and local election officials to understand the range of risks they face and how to prioritize mitigation efforts. It addresses areas of greatest risk, ensures technical cybersecurity assessments and services are meeting critical needs, and provides a sound analytic foundation for managing election security risk with key partners at the federal, state and local level. For the tool and additional information, click here.

September 2: CISA released an update to the Election Infrastructure Security Resource Guide. This guide provides a catalog of CISA’s wide range services and products (cybersecurity assessments, on-site and virtual trainings and exercises, and other resources) available to support State and local election officials. Download and share this guide here.

July 31: CISA released two new assessments and infographics on Election Infrastructure Cyber Risk and Mail-in Voting in 2020 Infrastructure Risk. Each method of voting carries risk that you, as election officials, manage. These assessments and infographics are voluntary resources intended to help the Federal Government and election officials understand and manage risks to election infrastructure and operations.

Additionally, CISA’s Guide to Vulnerability Reporting for America’s Election Administrators provides election administrators with a step-by-step guide, list of resources, and a template for establishing a successful vulnerability disclosure program to address possible vulnerabilities in their election systems. Download and share this guide here.

CISA's Electioin Services icon

Learn about CISA's Election Security Services

Election Officials icon

Join the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC)

Election Security Resource Library icon

Access the Election Security Resource Library

Find my State or Local Election Office Website

Find Your State or Local Election Office Website

 

Why Do We Need #PROTECT2020?

The American electoral process has historically been targeted by foreign adversaries. As such, securing election infrastructure and ensuring an election free from foreign interference are national security priorities. Threats to election systems are constantly evolving, so defending these systems requires constant vigilance, innovation, and adaptation. CISA defines foreign interference as malign actions taken by foreign governments to spread disinformation designed to manipulate the public, sow discord and ill will, discredit the electoral process, disrupt markets, and undermine the interests of the American people.

#Protect2020 outreach enables CISA to build on the trust, expertise, and relationships developed through our election security work to broaden our state and local cybersecurity risk management efforts. CISA works with state and local election officials, who are responsible for the operation and administration of more than 8,000 election jurisdictions across the country, to identify and plan for potential vulnerabilities to election infrastructure ahead of and during the 2020 election season. In addition to engaging election officials, CISA’s #PROTECT2020 efforts include engaging political campaigns, political parties, and political committees at the national level.

To learn more, read the #Protect2020 Strategic Plan.

#Protect2020 Resources

Understanding Foreign Interference

CISA defines foreign interference as malign actions taken by foreign governments to spread disinformation designed to manipulate the public, sow discord and ill will, discredit the electoral process, disrupt markets, and undermine the interests of the American people. #Protect2020 outreach enables CISA to build on the trust, expertise, and relationships developed through our election security work to broaden our state and local cybersecurity risk management efforts.

  • Recognize the Risk
    • Understand how foreign actors try to affect behavior.
      • Foreign actors might build an audience by starting or joining groups and spreading entertaining, non-controversial content. Eventually, they sprinkle in disinformation and steer followers to more extreme positions. The same actor will do this in many groups and pit them against each other.
  • Question the Source
    • Check who produced the content and question their intent.
      • Foreign actors can spend a lot of money to make disinformation seem like entertainment or news. U.S. laws require such agents engaged in political activities to disclose their relation to foreign governments. Look for those disclosures and think about what slant that relationship might put on how they report before accepting it as truth or linking to it online.
  • Investigate the Issue
    • Search for other reliable sources before sharing.
      • Do a quick search for other reliable sources before sharing a controversial or emotionally charged article, post, tweet, or meme you read. Studies show that being well informed requires getting information from many places. If it isn’t from a credible source or if you can’t find a second reliable source, don’t share it.
  • Think Before You Link
    • Ask yourself why you're sharing-and let your emotions cool.
      • Take a moment before sharing a link, email, or other message. Disinformation is designed to make you feel angry, shocked, or smug – always ask yourself why you’re sharing first. Are you posting to improve the conversation? Taking no action can be the best way to improve a discussion and thwart disinformation.
  • Talk to Your Circle
    • Talk with your social circle about the risks of spreading disinformation.
      • It's probably not worth engaging with every piece of disinformation, but if you are concerned with its spread you may want to speak out.  Share what you know about the risks of spreading disinformation and how to handle it.  Confronting with emotion may backfire, so when possible, combine humor with facts.

Enhancing Election Infrastructure Resiliency

Since 2016, the federal government has supported state and local efforts in three main ways:

  1. Sharing information about vulnerabilities and threats to their election systems
  2. Providing technical assistance, playbooks, and exercises
  3. Assisting state and local election officials in responding to cyber-related incidents targeting their election systems

The diversity and complexity of our elections systems makes the election process intrinsically resilient. Securing election infrastructure against this threat, like securing any system, is a continuously evolving process that requires constant vigilance, innovation, and adaptation.

In addition, voters in all states have the right to request provisional ballots, which are a fail-safe resilience measure to attacks on election infrastructure systems. Voters in states with Same Day Registration (SDR) can also reregister at the polling place, another resilience measure if voter registration systems are impacted by a cyber attack.

We will continue to ensure state and local elections officials have the necessary technical support and tools to assess risk, secure their systems and mitigate risk, and quickly respond to any cyber-related incidents involving their elections systems.

Our Partners

The Countering Foreign Interference Task Force is engaged in identifying opportunities to foster resilience to foreign information activities. Building public awareness of the threat is critical to mitigating the impact of foreign influence operations. The federal government cannot solve the foreign influence problem on its own.  We need both trusted voices and those that can amplify resilience messaging.

Responding to foreign interference requires a whole of society approach, and CISA is working with a range of partners to build societal resilience. Key partners include:

  • Private Sector
  • State, Local, Tribal, Territorial Governments
  • Academia
  • Research Community
  • Marketing and Advertising Experts
  • Federal Partners

Election Security GCC and SCC Resources

The below COVID-19 resources were developed by the Election Infrastructure Subsector’s Government Coordinating Council (GCC) and Sector Coordinating Council (SCC) Joint COVID-19 Working Group to provide voluntary tools for State and local election officials to assess risk, secure their systems, and respond to any cyber-related incidents involving their elections systems.

In-Person Voting Materials

U.S. Government Reading

External Resources

These resources are provided "as is" for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide warranties of any kind regarding this information, nor does it endorse any commercial product, service, or subjects of analysis. Any references to specific commercial products, processes, or services by service mark, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by DHS.


For questions or more information, please email us at EISSA@cisa.dhs.gov.

Was this document helpful?  Yes  |  Somewhat  |  No