Gail Ow
Product Manager, Ixia Solutions Group
Blog

Securing Our Election Systems Doesn’t Work Like This – But it’s Close!

September 27, 2019 by Gail Ow

If you haven’t seen the trailer to Will Smith’s upcoming Gemini Man movie, you should.

Will Smith has been cloned.

In network terms, we might call that replicated. An exact copy of himself has been created, including layer 1 and layer 2 NIC errors. Initially baffled, once he sees that he’s dealing with an exact copy of himself, he knows how to defend himself.

In network security terms, that’s a little like what happens when security teams install Network Taps into the network. A Network Tap replicates (or clones) a copy of the incoming traffic flowing through the network. This replicated traffic is sent to Monitoring Tools that allow security teams to identify and contain malicious traffic that’s managed to get past all other security measures.

Because unlike days of old when a Firewall was pretty much all that was needed to protect a network, nowadays it can take a lot of tools to protect your network, for instance: Intrusion Detection Systems, Intrusion Prevention Systems, Mobile Device Management, NAC Security policies, Next-Gen Firewalls, Authentication/Authorization systems, Monitoring tools, Visibility tools, and Network Taps.

So what does all this have to do with securing our Election Systems?

Despite the presumed difficulty and futility of hacking individual ballot machines, your vote does get collected, aggregated, counted, and forwarded along networks that must be protected. And we’re already starting to see more and more Network Taps deployed into Election systems.

Why?

Because if an Election System can be found by hackers, it will be attacked by hackers. So while securing our election systems isn’t exactly like Will Smith fighting his evil clone in Gemini Man, the trailer makes a good point.

Sun Tsu said it like this. “If you know yourself and your enemy, you need not fear…”

Network Taps.

“Will Smith” for modern day network security.

Who knew?