National Guard cybersecurity units in three U.S. states have been summoned up to provide support for the midterm elections in case of a cybersecurity event.
Wisconsin, Washington and Illinois have all pressed the Guard into duty for the midterms.
“Wisconsin voters should feel confident that the Wisconsin National Guard’s team is ready if needed to provide assistance on Election Day,” Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar, adjutant general of Wisconsin, said in a release. “The governor’s executive order simply allows us to deploy those resources quickly.”
The state’s Elections Commission was the lead agency with the Guard “standing by to support at their request,” the release acknowledged. “The Wisconsin National Guard cyber teams are ready to respond anywhere in the state to provide a number of capabilities including assisting and advising election officials in the cyber domain.”
It is unclear how many other states, if any, are using the Guard to potentially fend off cybersecurity incidents.
“The activation of these National Guard cyber security units begs the question, if we have such defenses available and they are effective, why don't we deploy them more widely?” asked Paul Bischoff, privacy advocate at Comparitech.com. “Other states should be doing the same, particularly swing states. It seems more appropriate to do so now more than ever, and perhaps it should be routine protocol for general elections from now on, barring any violations of privacy, the voting process, or free speech.”