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Helping Keep Elections Safe - This Company Is Working To Limit Security Risks Highlighted In Previous Elections

Elections are considered the basis for democratic legitimacy, central to maintaining free and fair societies in countries across the world. They give citizens a means to hold their leaders accountable, by either voting incumbents out of the office or promising to hold to account those leaders who are successfully elected.

Appropriate election security to ensure that the processes involved are fair, resilient, and safe, is of paramount importance in maintaining public trust in the democratic function.

Election security covers all elements of election infrastructure including election officials, volunteers, state and local government bodies, voting equipment, vendors, and technology. Its objective is to prevent possible security issues during elections, which could enable bad actors to access election systems and commit fraud through false registrations, allowing ineligible voters to vote, or enabling a voter to cast his or her vote more than once.

The 2016 and 2020 presidential elections in the U.S. saw many instances of cyber-attacks and suspected breaches. For example:

  • Russian hackers made headlines through their multiple efforts to penetrate the voter systems including those of two counties in Florida.

  • Riverside county in California saw unknown hackers tamper with voter party affiliation data leading to confusion at the polls and voters being turned away.

  • A security failure in the Georgia voter registration database left the records of more than 6.7 million people vulnerable to cyberattacks and data breaches.

Some breaches are made easier due to weaknesses in election systems, especially relating to processes involved in providing access to election officials who handle these systems.

In each county, the responsibility of designing and ensuring a smooth, secure, and legally valid election lies with the election committee. The committee sets up election offices comprising a broad spectrum of full and part-time employees and volunteers to check the incoming voters against the electoral roll and establish their voting rights.

Such volunteers and staff have full access to the election databases and systems that voters use to register themselves. These registration systems contain personal data and sensitive information including driver’s license numbers, social security numbers, and political affiliations of voters – making them extremely appealing to cyber criminals. Altering, hacking, or publishing these records could result in significant data breaches, even rendering potential voters ineligible to vote on election day.

In addition, the large influx of new staff and volunteers involved in the election cycles often operates using shared workstations, giving rise to additional data security risks and potentially exposing systems to cyber security crimes.

Learning from the experience of cyberattacks on election systems in 2016, the U.S. government took steps in advance to ensure the security of the 2020 presidential elections – by increasing the funding available for election-security initiatives.

In 2018, the government enacted the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which included $380 million in federal funding to make election security improvements including through enhancing technology. And in 2020, the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations Bill was amended to provide $250M in additional funding for county and state election boards to upgrade technology, improve cybersecurity, and help prevent future cyberattacks.

Biometrics Could Transform Voting Security In The U.S.

One company that states it has played a prominent role in providing election security support is New Jersey-based BIO-key International Inc. (NASDAQ: BKYI).

The company reports having provided biometric solutions to support the electoral process internationally for years and says that since 2019 it has also been involved in U.S. election security including working with numerous counties, including Collier county in Florida.

The Florida election office had already invested in BIO-key’s PIV-Pro – a Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) compliant fingerprint scanner for government security applications – and based on the county's evolving security requirements chose BIO-key’s patented PortalGuard platform for authenticating access for its staff during elections.

BIO-key believes its PortalGuard Identity and Access Management (IAM) & Identity-Bound Biometrics (IBB) platform is ideal for election applications because it is affordable, easy to deploy and manage, and delivers a high level of data security via accurate biometric authentication. PortalGuard also has a unique capability of supporting the widest range of multi-factor authentication methods compared to other IAM platforms on the market, including advanced biometric authentication using fingerprint and palm scanning methods.

The New Jersey-based company’s election security solution is compatible with a variety of complex fingerprint readers qualified by Microsoft to support passwordless fingerprint authentication and also integrates with Microsoft’s Active Directory as well as many other directories, giving customers the flexibility to decide where they store election staff’s digital identities.

Expanding its footprint in Florida, last year BIO-key signed with the Orange County election office to secure election data access using Identity-Bound Biometrics. The company says that the U.S. government’s proactive funding of election security initiatives has been a key enabler in the deployment of its various election security solutions to the counties it supports.

“We have forged an election security program that is seamless, easy to launch, and able to support a wide array of authentication options. BIO-key enables election officials to meet the challenges of an evolving threat landscape in an easy-to-deploy and cost-effective manner.” stated BIO-key Chairman and CEO Michael DePasquale.

The company anticipates further growth in the area of securing state and federal election data in the future.

To learn more about BIO-key visit its webpage.

BIO-key is revolutionizing authentication and cybersecurity with biometric-centric, multi-factor identity and access management (IAM) software managing millions of users. Its cloud-based PortalGuard IAM solution provides cost-effective, easy to deploy, convenient and secure access to devices, information, applications, and high-value transactions. BIO-key's patented software and hardware solutions, with industry-leading Identity-Bound Biometric (IBB) capabilities, enable large-scale Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS) solutions, as well as customized on premises solutions.

This post contains sponsored advertising content. This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be investing advice.

Contact Details

Catalyst IR- William Jones, David Collins

+1 212-924-9800

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