Securing the 2020 US state, federal and presidential elections against cyberattacks became the topic of serious discussion for both the private and public sector this week. Within the context of elections cybersecurity, threat modeling is a top priority for technology companies and federal government agencies as they cooperate to prevent cyberattacks. In addition to threat modeling, intelligence sharing, and strengthening public and private ties are endeavors of importance.

On Wednesday, September 4, government officials – including the FBI – met with Silicon Valley giants at Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park, California. The daylong meeting included security teams from Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft. Chief executives were not in attendance. In addition to the FBI, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security were government agencies in attendance.

Securing the 2020 Presidential Election a Cause for National Concern

The meeting of government with technology giants comes in anticipation of election Day, which is still 14 months away. The public and private sectors alike are not interested in a repeat of the cyberattacks that occurred during the 2016 US Presidential Election, which had lasting implications. The US Department of Justice blames Russian intelligence officers for:

  • Hacking into Democratic officials’ computing systems (including then-presidential nominee Hillary Clinton)
  • Tampering with voting machines
  • Intercepting emails and stealing documents
  • Spreading disinformation through social media, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

Hackers used tactics such as spear phishing and SQL Injections. The hacks drew scrutiny to technology companies for being unable to prevent malicious activity from occurring on their platforms. A number of the impacted companies continue to make efforts to prevent this type of sabotage, disinformation and foreign interference from happening again.

What Occurred at the 2020 Elections Meeting Between Gov and Tech?

According to an FBI official, the purpose of the meeting was to engage in conversation about the government and technology entities’ “shared goal of protecting democracy and securing the 2020 state, federal and presidential elections.” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook cybersecurity policy leader, said that the attendees shared details on their work involving cybersecurity. Participants promoted strategic collaboration across the private and public sectors to address potential security threats.

Individuals also brainstormed on threat planning and coordination with activities that include:

  • Detection
  • Deterrence
  • Information sharing

Gleicher issued the following statement regarding the timely, significant event, which sets a tone for 2020 presidential election cybersecurity: “Improving election security and countering information operations are complex challenges that no organization can solve alone … Today’s meeting builds on our continuing commitment to work with industry and government partners, as well as with civil society and security experts, to better understand emerging threats and prepare for future elections.”

Threat Model the IT Landscape to Secure Against Cyber Threats

The process of threat modeling is becoming more of a focus globally as organizations seek proactive measures to detect, deter and share information about threats. Threat modeling is a technique that enables security teams to map out their attack surface using process flow diagrams. Users take the visualization – of mobile, cloud and IoT embedded applications, for example – then identify, prioritize and mitigate security threats.

As the private and public sectors implement threat modeling more and more, we recommend turning to ThreatModeler. A top-rated, award winning platform, ThreatModeler sets itself apart from other threat modeling applications through automation, scalability, plus integrations with leading cloud platforms – including AWS and Azure. To learn more about how ThreatModeler can help security teams to reduce the likelihood of a data breach, book a demo to speak to a ThreatModeler expert today.




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