CISSM hosts discussion about impact of cyber activity on presidential elections

November 04, 2016

While some e-voting systems continue to have security vulnerabilities, the potential for a cyber event to swing the results of the November 8 election remains very small. Much more likely, however, is the possibility that questions about voting results and the disruptive activities of some actors in cyber space will undermine confidence in American democracy, according to the participants in a November 3 discussion at the University of Maryland's Adele Stamp Student Union.

VIEW A COMPLETE VIDEO OF THE EVENT

During the event, cosponsored by CISSM, the Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise (CPPPE), the Maryland Global Initiative on Cybersecurity, and the Maryland Cybersecurity Center, four panelists discussed facets of the topic.

Poorvi Vora, a professor of computer science at The George Washington University, addressed the need for continued improvement in how voting systems are structured and in how election audits are conducted to ensure that votes are counted as intended. David Mussington, the director of CPPPE, argued for why voting systems ought to be thought of as part of the country's critical infrastructure and afforded protection as such.

Nancy Gallagher, the interim director of CISSM, addressed the potential for nonstate and state actors to influence elections by stealing information and making it publicly available and conducting activities in cyberspace to influence public perceptions and attitudes. Former Congressman Tom McMillen addressed the heightened awareness within the political elite of the potential impact of cyber events on political campaigns and election results, and implored sitting members of Congress to overcome their legacy political tendencies and let the federal government play a larger role in security elections.