New security standards for elections administrators

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RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- New minimum security standards have been passed that all elections administrators in Virginia will need to follow for 2020.

The Virginia State Board of Elections unanimously passed the standards on Monday.

These requirements include setting new standards for creating secure passwords, requiring an increased emphasis on utilizing anti-virus protection on election systems, and developing and training on incident response plans.

“Virginia is already recognized as a national leader for our focus and prioritization of initiatives designed to maintain the integrity of our elections,” said Department of Election Commission Christopher Piper. “These new security standards will only bring even more support to our current efforts.”

The SBE says these standards will be updated on an annual basis to help keep up with changing technology and emerging cybersecurity threats.

During the 2019 General Assembly session, House Bill 2178 was passed.

This law called for new cybersecurity standards that must be met throughout the Commonwealth before systems are allowed to access Virginia's election database.

Since July, the Virginia Department of Elections and a workgroup of local government IT professionals and general registrars have been working to create a list of standards to ensure the integrity of the voter registration system in Virginia, such as the security requirements mentioned earlier.

Other security requirements will be also developed for election administrators.

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