WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Dispel today launched its new Election Cyber Defense System ("ECDS")—a turnkey product designed to protect critical election IT infrastructure from foreign and domestic cyberattack. Released in advance of the 2018 midterm elections, Dispel designed ECDS in response to law-enforcement and intelligence reports of foreign adversaries targeting U.S. elections.
Dispel ECDS protects three areas of the electoral process—voter rolls, vote counts, and election campaign communications—against tampering and theft by sophisticated adversaries through cryptographic, Moving Target Defense, and physical countermeasures.
"Democracies depend upon the factual integrity of, and societal confidence in, elections. While technically trivial to hack most voting machines in person, it is far simpler, logistically, to erode confidence in an election by attacking the points of the system that depend upon the Internet—networked computers at polling stations, election websites, State and local databases, and party committees," said Ian Schmertzler, President and co-founder of Dispel.
Recent reports have publicized the actions of foreign adversaries interfering in U.S. elections. State and local election systems, and political campaigns, are often manned by volunteer staff with minimal formal technical expertise. With the 2018 midterms on the horizon—where 435 seats in the house, 33 seats in the Senate, and multiple local and state elections will be contested—a rapidly deployable IT defensive system is needed to prevent another compromised election.
"Election defense officials and political campaigns are looking for a more robust defense against nation-state adversaries than voting machine upgrades or white papers counseling people not to click on strange links," added Ian Schmertzler. "They want economical solutions they can implement on their own that materially reduce the attack profiles of their systems."
How Dispel's ECDS works
Dispel's ECDS system—based on company's Moving Target Defense-based platform—for which Dispel was recognized as a Gartner Cool Vendor in 2017—camouflages networks to effectively 'disappear' file transmissions and communications from the view of attackers. By packaging a system that combines the company's proprietary and proven automated network-level defense technology with an exceptionally friendly installation and end-user experience, Dispel both fortifies data while simultaneously encouraging more secure behavior.
The new platform consists of three main elements:
Blunting attempts by malicious hackers to steal, corrupt, or sabotage election data by concealing transmissions and data repositories from view;
Reducing attack surfaces and the ability to gain access to data by enabling physical and cryptographic hyper-segmentation of the network; and,
Creating resilient data recovery trails via Write-Once, Read-Many Linear Tape Open (WORM LTO) cassette storage.
Dispel's ECDS automatically tunnels traffic into disassociated, encrypted, pathways to remove identifiable metadata, which frustrates attempts by attackers to locate, map, and attack election databases and networks. Featuring a turnkey, plug-in hardware device—called an ECDS Wicket—Dispel connects a user's computer to a unique data room residing within its own uniquely keyed and cloaked Moving Target Defense network. While connected, the ECDS Wicket prevents a user's computer from transmitting data to the external Internet, stopping any malware located on a user's computer from stealing data. The system takes mere minutes for a user to install and learn.
"Dispel applied our extensive experience protecting the data and communications systems of public and private entities against hostile governments to our new election defense program," says Ethan Schmertzler, CEO and co-founder of Dispel. "With ECDS, election officials and political campaigns have the tools they need to meet their mandates, while stopping cyberattacks in a cost-effective and simple manner."
For more statistics and information on election vulnerabilities, threats, and how to get involved, please visit www.DontHacktheVote.org
Dispel is a U.S. cyber defense firm that specializes in building traceless, encrypted communications systems to insulate teams, equipment, and datasets from targeted cyberattacks and observation. Recognized as a Gartner 2017 Cool Vendor in Unified Communications, Dispel has grown to become the leading commercial provider of automated network-level Moving Target Defenses. Visit the Dispel website to learn more.
About Don't Hack the Vote
Don't Hack the Vote is a project to organize technology companies from across the United States to help keep U.S. elections keep free from foreign interference. The initiative was created out of the realization that the thousands of local election officials who manage and run elections needed help from the cyber security community. Just as regular citizens help run polling places across the country, individuals and companies working in cyber security can help officials tackle the challenges of securing electoral systems.