Elections Security Checklist ©

Election Security: Risk Assessment, Defense And Disaster Recovery Aspects

 

Election infrastructure is vital to the essential functioning and administration of elections. From voter registration databases to voting machines many systems of election administration critically utilize and depend upon information technology throughout the process. The Elections Security Checklist© will help guide the election professional through the process of identifying the elements in your inventory of critical election systems. Next the Elections Security Checklist© steps the user through multiple risk assessments for each system followed by the physical, network, and application defensive measure assessments. The final stage of the evaluation addresses the various aspects of physical, network and application disaster recovery. What was formerly available to our members only, is now available to the entire election community with sincere compliments from The Election Center.

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21946 Royal Montreal Drive, Suite 100, Katy, TX 77450 281-396-4309


Elections Security Checklist


Identify and Assess Critical Election Systems

1.) Have you defined your inventory of critical election systems?

(for example, the Voter Registration Database; Websites like your Voter Data Lookup Tool; Election Tally System; Voting Machines, etc.)

YES NO

2.) For each system, do you regularly assess the value of the information contained within, the necessity of perfect functioning of the system, and potential risks to it?

YES NO

3.) For each system, are you actively cataloging it and building/improving defenses to protect it?

YES NO

4.) For each system, have you developed a plan to recover should disaster strike?

YES NO

For each system identified, engage in the following critical analysis to assess the relative risks, defenses, and recovery plans you have in place.

I. Risk Assessment

(Complete a Risk Assessment for every system)

A. Physical Security Risk

1.) Have you developed a worst case scenario for potential damage if an unauthorized person enters your election headquarters?

YES NO

2.) Have you developed a worst case scenario for potential damage if an unauthorized person enters your election warehouse?

YES NO

3.) Have you developed a worst case scenario for potential damage if an unauthorized person enters your server room or data center?

YES NO

4.) Have you examined your physical access authorization policy in the last three months?

YES NO

5.) Do you perform scheduled audits of authorized personnel prior to each election?

YES NO

6.) Do you reexamine your physical access policies on any regular schedule?

YES NO


Election Center Checklist: Elections Security Checklist 9/2016

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Reprint only with permission of the Election Center 1    


A. Physical Security Risk (con’t)

7.) Have you ever conducted a test to see if your facilities can be entered by unauthorized personnel?

YES NO

8.) Do you have policies and procedures in place for intrusion incident response?

YES NO

9.) Do you have surveillance cameras in place at key facilities?

YES NO

10.) Do you have a system in place that automatically identifies suspicious behavior as seen on the surveillance system and creates a management alert?

YES NO

11.) Do you regularly review your video if there is not a system to automatically identify suspicious behavior?

YES NO

B. Network Security Risks

1.) Do you have a complete map of your network and all its interconnections, both within your organization and with outside entities?

YES NO

2.) Do your vendors and partners have a strong commitment to network security?

YES NO

3.) Have you reviewed your vendors and partners’ written plans and checkpoints that demonstrate implementation?”

YES NO

4.) Do you have a map of the data elements that pass between each application system on your network and with outside entities?

YES NO

5.) Are all of your network connections to outside entities secured by a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or something comparable?

YES NO

6.) Is there any group or department within your organization whose mission is to monitor network security?

YES NO

7.) Have you developed a worst case scenario for potential damage if an unauthorized person gains access to any part of your network?

YES NO

8.) Do you have anti-virus software installed to detect “Advanced Persistent Threats”?

YES NO

9.) Does any outside entity, such as a statewide voter registration system, have the ability to alter or delete data from any of your internal systems?

YES NO

10.) Do you regularly conduct vulnerability and intrusion testing on your network?

YES NO



Election Center Checklist: Elections Security Checklist 9/2016

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    2 Reprint only with permission of the Election Center

 


C. Software Applications Security Risks

(Note: Systems may have numerous applications that touch them. For example, a voter registration system may be composed of a voter database application, and also connected

e-poll book software application, and connected statewide voter database application. Running the application level analysis on each of the program level applications will give you your best sense of your security and preparedness.)

1.) Application (insert name) Security Risks (repeat a, b, c and d questions for every security risk application)

a.) Information at Risk

1.) Does your application house any information not subject to public disclosure? (for example, any personally identifiable information (PII) such as SSN, Driver’s license, date of birth, etc.)

YES NO

2.) Do you employ encryption standards for all data - specifically personal identifiable Information?

YES NO

3.) Does this application share, transmit, or receive information with any other application or system?

YES NO

4.) Does this application house any data that affects election results?

YES NO

5.) Does this application have any type of network or internal system connection with any application that affects election results?

YES NO

6.) Does this application house any data that is essential to the running of an election, and without which the election would either be impossible to administer or whose results might be questioned?

YES NO

b.) Acceptable Use Policy

1.) Do you have a written policy for this application describing who may use it and under what circumstances?

YES NO

2.) Do you have an enforcement mechanism and management review process in place to ensure compliance with any such policy?

YES NO

3.) Is your acceptable use policy implemented in software in such a manner that your systems enforce the policy?

YES NO

c.) Worst Case Scenarios

1.) If this application or its database were completely destroyed or disabled at a critical time, could you still conduct your election?

YES NO


Election Center Checklist: Elections Security Checklist 9/2016

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Reprint only with permission of the Election Center 3    

 


c.) Worst Case Scenarios (con’t)

2.) Even if you could conduct the election, would public confidence in the results be maintained? (for example, a hacker had cancelled a large number of voter registrations for one competing party).

YES NO

3.) Could you still ensure that no voters would be disenfranchised as a result

of the application problem? (for example, excessively long lines, or unavailable registration information, or for some other reasons).

YES NO

II. Defense Layers

A. Physical Defenses

1.) Is physical access to your site restricted to authorized users?

YES NO

2.) Is there site security staff at the location(s) where your system is located?

YES NO

3.) Is there a log of the identities and access times of individuals physically accessing your site?

YES NO

4.) Is your site security staff present at times when staff are not present?

YES NO

5.) Are all entrances (including windows, etc.) secured by alarms and/or security cameras?

YES NO

6.) Does your management regularly review physical security records such as logs, video footage, alarm notifications, etc.?

YES NO

7.) Is the data center where your computer servers are located physically protected in the event of fire, terror attacks or flooding?

YES NO

8.) Do you have a backup site available if any of your facilities become suddenly inoperable during a critical period?

YES NO

9.) Have you determined how long it will take to get the backup site functioning? (including the determination of any loss of data).

YES NO

10.) If any of your computer systems are housed in a vendor-supported

data center, has that vendor supplied you with a detailed description of their physical security, fire protection, backup and recovery procedures?

YES NO

11.) Are your temporary workers required to wear ID badges or other identification so that unauthorized persons in your facilities can be quickly spotted?

YES NO



Election Center Checklist: Elections Security Checklist 9/2016

© Copyrighted by the Election Center

    4 Reprint only with permission of the Election Center


B. Network Defenses

1.) Is there an “air gap” between the Internet and your election tally system

(i.e. is your tally system physically disconnected from the Internet)?

YES NO

2.) Do you employ encryption standards for all data - specifically personal identifiable Information?

YES NO

3.) Are your public-facing voter systems, e.g. a “check my registration” application, built using copies of critical information rather than being directly connected to critical information databases?

YES NO

4.) Do you review your network activity logs daily?

YES NO

5.) Do you review your logs at least once a week?

YES NO

6.) Do you have any User & Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) software running on any of your critical infrastructure that can alert you to suspicious network activity?

YES NO

7.) Do you conduct any periodic vulnerability, intrusion and penetration testing on your networks?

YES NO

8.) Do you create and store daily application system back-ups?

YES NO

9.) Do you transfer data to or from the isolated network using a specified USB device that is used only for that purpose and verified to be clean?

YES NO

10.) Do you have a network access control system that controls user access permission levels? (e.g. Microsoft Active Directory)

YES NO

11.) Do you control access to any of your systems by outside organizations or individuals by using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)?

YES NO

12.) Is your network password-protected?

YES NO

13.) Do you provide administrative passwords only to employees with a clearly defined “need to know/edit” status?

YES NO

14.) Do you change critical system passwords regularly (recommendation every 90 days)?

YES NO

15.) Do you ensure that servers, PCs and laptops are encrypted or updated with the most current security patches?

YES NO

16.) Do you ensure the organization has the most current versions of virus protection software?

YES NO


Election Center Checklist: Elections Security Checklist 9/2016

© Copyrighted by the Election Center

Reprint only with permission of the Election Center 5    

 


C. Software Applications Defenses

1.) Application (insert name) Defenses

(repeat a., b., c., d questions for every software defense application)

a.) Data Protections

1.) Are only authorized personnel granted access to the software?

YES NO

2.) Is this application set up with different, unique passwords for each user?

YES NO

3.) Is this application set up with different passwords for different elections?

YES NO

4.) Is this application set up with robust passwords (passwords include special characters and caps-best practices recommends changing passwords every 90 days)?

YES NO

5.) Is this application set up with tokens or other special access rights?

YES NO

b.) Software level application level protections

1.) Is the software platform protected by a firewall?

YES NO

2.) Is the software platform isolated in the network environment?

YES NO

c.) Software Logs

1.) Does the software log the user name, time, date, and type of modification?

YES NO

2.) Does the software log multiple log-in attempts, increased data traffic, and/or volume of data transmitted?

YES NO

d.) User & Entity Behavior Analytics (EUBA)

1.) Do you have baseline measurements for “normal” activity patterns within this application and an alert system that identifies abnormal activity patterns?

YES NO

III. System Disaster Recovery

A. Physical Disaster Recovery

1.) Is there backup for the loss of hardware (networks, servers, computers and laptops, wireless devices)?

YES NO

2.) Is hardware available at an alternate facility that can be configured to run similar hardware and software applications when needed?

YES NO

3.) Is there backup for the loss of impounded voting equipment?

YES NO


Election Center Checklist: Elections Security Checklist 9/2016

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    6 Reprint only with permission of the Election Center

 


A. Physical Disaster Recovery (con’t)

4.) Is there a contingency for natural disasters or homeland security breach for data contained at data center?

YES NO

5.) Are there plans for relocating Receiving Stations (where poll workers return election night supplies) in the event of a natural disaster or homeland security breach?

YES NO

6.) Is there backup for the loss of data from election equipment damage?

YES NO

7.) Is there access to network infrastructure hardware that could replace failed components?

YES NO

8.) Is there ready access to your alternative physical locations?

YES NO

9.) Is there a timeframe in place for the alternative facility to be functioning?

YES NO

B. Network Disaster Recovery

1.) Is there a plan for providing automatic redirects for interfaced systems should you need to move your system to a new network location?

YES NO

2.) Is there access to network infrastructure hardware that could replace failed components?

YES NO

3.) For the backup hardware and networking plan, is there necessary staff available during critical periods?

YES NO

C. Software Applications Disaster Recovery

1.) Application (insert name) Disaster Recovery

(repeat a., b., c., d questions for each software disaster application)

a.) Damage Assessment

1.) Are vendors on standby for critical periods to assist with Assessment and Disaster Recovery?

YES NO

2.) Are you able to run a hash comparison with the recovery (i.e. back-up) copy of your software application?

YES NO

b.) Data Restore

1.) Are your backup disks or file locations readily accessible?

YES NO

2.) Are your backup files saved in an off-site location?

YES NO

3.) If you have a parallel application running, is it up to date?

YES NO


Election Center Checklist: Elections Security Checklist 9/2016

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Reprint only with permission of the Election Center 7    

 


c.) Application Restore

1.) Do you have necessary staff or vendor resources available to assist with the installation of the application in a mirrored physical and OS environment?

YES NO

d.) Business Restore

1.) Are you prepared to cut over to alternative applications that can manage limited business critical functions? (For example, if your Voter Registration System crashes, can you quickly utilize your web based voter search application so that you can direct voters to their polling place on Election Day?)

YES NO

2.) Are there paper alternatives to allow you to continue with on-going critical processes while technical systems are diagnosed and brought back? (For instance, do your voting machines create countable paper trails viewable by each voter?)

YES NO

3.) Can you quickly create paper voter lists in the event e-poll books go down?

YES NO

The Election Center would like to acknowledge and thank the committee that worked on the initial draft of this checklist: Noah Praetz, Cook Co. IL; Dean Logan, Los Angeles Co. CA; Jennifer Morrell, Arapahoe Co. CO; Janice Case, King County, WA; Eric Fey, St. Louis Co. MO; Brian Corley, Pasco Co, FL and Ryan Macias, U.S. EAC



Election Center Checklist: Elections Security Checklist 9/2016

© Copyrighted by the Election Center

    8 Reprint only with permission of the Election Center

 

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21946 Royal Montreal, Suite 100

Katy, TX 77450

281-396-4309 Phone

281-396-4315 Fax

services@electioncenter.org

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