Earlier this year, I brought together leaders from across Thurston County government to create a Cybersecurity Task Force. Cyber threats are a grim reality for elections and local governments. It's critical to coordinate efforts countywide.
The task force includes key department directors, staff from my office, our IT department, the assistant county manager, and other elected officials. This group:
- Develops an understanding of cybersecurity risks;
- Identifies cybersecurity tools and resources; and
- Recommends implementation strategies.
The county is only as strong as its weakest link. Every employee needs to be a cyber defender.
Our elections team and the county have already taken important steps to improve cybersecurity, and we must continue to adapt with evolving threats. I'm excited about the plans we're making to do all we can to prevent and prepare for a cyber attack: two-factor authentication, adding detection tools, and using the testing tools provided by the Department of Homeland Security.
No sector faces a bigger threat than elections. Our team in the Auditor's Office wants people to know their vote is safe. Over the coming weeks we'll share practical cybersecurity tips and security facts about elections in Thurston County on our social media. The same security facts are also included in the local voters' pamphlet.
Because the Department of Homeland Security designated elections systems as critical infrastructure, we have access to some incredible resources and tools through our partners in the federal government. Recently I've met with some of the leading experts in our region on cybersecurity to learn more about how to keep us safe.
We're only as strong as our weakest link—a coordinated approach is our best defense against cyber criminals. We'll be posting more on this topic in the weeks ahead.