Secretary of state issues cybersecurity tips to candidates




Photo by Christiaan Colen | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office recently issued a packet to candidates, political parties and political action committees of cybersecurity tips ahead of next year’s elections.

In 2016, criminals attempted to hack into voter databases but were unsuccessful. The state has since enhanced its security measures and created a new voter registration database. 

The Fulcrum, a non-profit news outlet that writes extensively about voting, wrote that Arizona is one of the key swing states to watch in 2020 where election security will matter the most.

The packet gives basic cybersecurity tips such as using two-factor authentication log-ins for all services a campaign, party or PAC may use, such as social media accounts. 

Two-factor authentication requires a secondary form of authentication such as a text, phone call or email in order to log into an account, rather than just a password alone. 

The Secretary of State’s Office also advises being extra aware of threats like phishing attacks, in which a malicious email or link is sent that allows an attacker to hack into emails or more. 

The packet also includes links to newer resources that have become available in recent years, such as the FBI’s Protected Voices initiative which includes a litany of information and tips on a wide variety of topics from basic password management to ransomware. 

The tip sheet comes on the heels of a federal legislation that provides $425 million for election security, which is to be divided up between the states. The legislation is awaiting a signature or veto from President Donald Trump. It is unclear how much of that money will come Arizona’s way. 

The Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines, also known as the DETER ACT, also designates a national counterintelligence officer who would provide reports to Congress on election hacking issues. 

Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joins the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. Jerod has also won awards for his documentary films which have covered issues such as religious tolerance and surveillance technology used by police. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.