Securing our Nation's Election Infrastructure

Presented at DEF CON 26 (2018), Aug. 10, 2018, 10 a.m. (20 minutes)

Fair elections are at the core of every democracy and are of paramount importance to our national security. The confidence in our electoral process is fundamental to ensuring that every vote- and therefore every voice- matters. In recent years, our Nation has become increasingly uneasy about the potential threats to our election infrastructure. The activities to undermine the confidence in the 2016 presidential election have been well documented and the United States (U.S.) Government has assessed that our adversaries will apply lessons learned from the 2016 election and will continue in their attempts to influence the U.S. and their allies' upcoming elections, including the 2018 mid-term elections. As the lead agency for securing the Nation's cyber infrastructure, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a mission to maintain public trust and protect America's election systems. In January 2017, the DHS Secretary designated election systems as critical infrastructure. This designation means election infrastructure has become a priority in shaping our planning and policy initiatives, as well as how we allocate our resources. DHS is working directly with election officials across 8,000 election jurisdictions and throughout 55 States and territories, to help them safeguard their systems. As the threat environment evolves, DHS will continue to work with state and local partners to enhance our understanding of the threat, share timely and actionable threat information, and provide essential physical and cybersecurity tools and resources available to the public and private sectors to increase security and resiliency. DHS is committed to ensuring that our adversaries never succeed with their campaign to undermine our democracy.


  • Jeanette Manfra - Assistant Secretary, Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, Department of Homeland Security
    Jeanette Manfra serves as the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) Assistant Secretary for the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications (CS&C). She is the chief cybersecurity official for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and supports its mission of strengthening the security and resilience of the nation's critical infrastructure. Prior to this position, Ms. Manfra served as Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity and Director for Strategy, Policy, and Plans for the NPPD. Previously, Ms. Manfra served as Senior Counselor for Cybersecurity to the Secretary of Homeland Security and Director for Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity on the National Security Council staff at the White House. At DHS, she held multiple positions in the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, including advisor for the Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications and Deputy Director, Office of Emergency Communications, during which time she led the Department's efforts in establishing the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network. Before joining DHS, Jeanette served in the U.S. Army as a communications specialist and a Military Intelligence Officer.


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