As interest in cybersecurity swells among election officials, a small group of states has begun experimenting with a virtualized network-intrusion system that until recently had only been available in the form of a physical device.
Typically, the Albert system, which is designed and distributed by the nonprofit Center for Internet Security, consists of single-unit physical servers outfitted with the organization’s open-source software that detects anomalous and malicious network activity. But five states and territories, led by Nebraska, have started using Albert sensors that run on a virtual server to detect attempted intrusions of their voter registration databases.
The software-based version of the Albert system is a product of collaboration between the participating states, which have asked to remain anonymous; Election Systems & Software, which produces the voter registration system used by Nebraska and the others; and CIS, which operates the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center, the federally funded entity through which state officials, local officials and the U.S. Department of Homeland security exchange alerts about election security.
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