How CurrentWare Safeguards the Integrity of State and Local Elections

AccessPatrol is critical infrastructure for us. We block every USB device in existence that does not belong to our serialized USB thumb drive inventory.

We provide these devices to the counties so that they can tabulate their data on a tabulation computer, put the vote counts on the drive, then bring it over to the ENR machine to submit the election night results.”

Sr. Network Engineer

US State Government Agency

CurrentWare Customer Sessions & Kimball LLP

CurrentWare’s USB control software AccessPatrol provides a critical capability for ensuring the availability, usability, and integrity of election data in the Election Night Reporting (ENR) process—Blocking the use of unauthorized removable media devices on ENR systems. 

Read on to learn more about AccessPatrol’s role in maintaining the integrity of the electronic voting process for state and local elections.

Locale
United States
Industry
Government
   
Organization Type
State Government
User Count
300+ Endpoints

CurrentWare Products Highlighted
access patrol

How CurrentWare Safeguards the Integrity of State and Local Elections

AccessPatrol is critical infrastructure for us. We block every USB device in existence that does not belong to our serialized USB thumb drive inventory.

We provide these devices to the counties so that they can tabulate their data on a tabulation computer, put the vote counts on the drive, then bring it over to the ENR machine to submit the election night results.”

Sr. Network Engineer

US State Government Agency

CurrentWare Customer Sessions & Kimball LLP

CurrentWare’s USB control software AccessPatrol provides a critical capability for ensuring the availability, usability, and integrity of election data in the Election Night Reporting (ENR) process—Blocking the use of unauthorized removable media devices on ENR systems. 

Read on to learn more about AccessPatrol’s role in maintaining the integrity of the voting process for state and local elections.

Locale

United States

Industry

Government

Organization Type

State Government

User Count

3000+ Endpoints


CurrentWare Products Highlighted

access patrol

Election Night Reporting Cybersecurity Challenges

Advances in voting technology have transformed American elections by dramatically improving the efficiency, accessibility, and visibility of the voting process.

While these advancements have produced a significant boon in productivity, they are not without their risks. 

The threat of interference in elections by foreign governments and other bad actors are top-of-mind for citizens and election officials alike. Voting technologies need robust cybersecurity protocols to ensure that the integrity of elections are upheld in the modern age.

What is Election Night Reporting?

Election night reporting (ENR) refers to the systems and processes that are used to aggregate and communicate unofficial election results to the public and media after polls close, typically through a website.

While ENR results are always unofficial, the public often perceives unofficial election results as final.

Because of this fact, it is critical that those involved in the election process provide necessary safeguards to protect the integrity of the voting process.

Air Gaps vs Flow of Information

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), an independent, bipartisan commission charged with developing guidance to meet requirements set out by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), recommends several cybersecurity measures to protect election data against bad actors. 

One critical measure recommended by the EAC is the use of air gapping to ensure that the tabulating machines used to count votes are not connected to any network, which would increase their attack surface to risks such as malware, denial-of-service, and man-in-the-middle attacks, among other risks.

This poses a unique challenge for the election night reporting process: Tabulating machines must remain air gapped to protect them from external threats, but the ENR machines that consolidate the data from the tabulating machines need to be connected to other networks to provide the data to the public and the media.

“If USB storage devices are required, enterprise software should be used that can configure systems to allow only the use of specific devices. An inventory of such devices should be maintained.” – The Center for Internet Security

Securing Removable Media

To allow for secure data transfer without compromising the air gap, removable media devices are used to transfer XML files from the tabulating machine into the ENR system. 

Unfortunately, removable media devices are not without their risks either; they can be exposed to malware and compromised at the supplier level, through a previous use in an infected machine, or through a purposeful infection by a bad actor.

These risks are mitigated through complimentary security controls including:

  • Robust vetting during the procurement process
  • A detailed chain of custody that tracks the usage and whereabouts of trusted devices
  • Ensuring devices that transfer data from an air-gapped machine to any network-connected machine are not reintroduced to air gapped systems. 

To ensure the efficacy of these measures it’s critical that only authorized removable media devices are connected to election technology.

AccessPatrol peripheral device permissions mockup block usb

AccessPatrol’s Role in Securing Election Night Results

AccessPatrol ensures that the integrity of the Election Night Reporting process is not undermined by the introduction of rogue portable storage devices

Lockdown USB Devices

Election night reporting relies on a precise process designed to quickly, accurately, and safely transfer each candidate’s vote totals into the ENR system so that data can be made available to the public.

CurrentWare’s state and local government customers use AccessPatrol’s device control features to ensure that only authorized removable drives that have been pre-vetted for their security and reliability are used to transmit data from vote tabulation machines to ENR systems.

Air gapping measures are further enforced by using AccessPatrol to block the use of wireless peripherals such as Bluetooth and WiFi.

    Audit USB Activity

    AccessPatrol’s device activity tracking complements the manual monitoring of chain-of-custody procedures with intuitive reports, dashboards, alerts, and activity logs that track the use of every portable storage device.

    These insights allow election officials and IT security teams to verify:

    • What storage devices were used
    • When each device was used
    • What files were transferred to/from each device
    • Who was responsible for the data transfer

    In the event that unauthorized removable drives are connected to protected computers, designated officials are sent an alert with all the information they need to investigate the security incident.

      Restrict File Transfers

      The file transfer blocking feature ensures that even authorized removable drives are strictly limited to transferring only the relevant XML files required for the ENR process. 

      Ensuring that extraneous files cannot be transferred to or from protected systems via removable media devices mitigates the possibility of malicious files being introduced to critical election technology.

        Screenshot of AccessPatrol's USB file transfer blocking feature
        USB flash drive next to laptop

        Allow Backups to Trusted Devices

        AccessPatrol ensures back-ups of election results reports can be transmitted to trusted storage devices on a regular schedule—all without giving threat actors the opportunity to copy that data to unauthorized devices.

        These backups are crucial to ensure that election data can be recovered quickly and restored in the event of hardware failure, cyberattacks, and other data security risks.

          Access Patrol

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          What Stands Out to CurrentWare’s State and Local Government Customers

          Ease of Use

          I came in after another IT employee had left; I had never used AccessPatrol before. It was so intuitive and easy to use that I figured it out right away after clicking around. If you’re used to Active Directory OUs you’ll find it super simple.

          Sr. Network Engineer
          US State Government Agency

          Customer Support

          When we call or email with an issue they are always there, ready to dive into the details. They always find a quick solution to our problems. It’s refreshing, compared to some of the other technology vendors we deal with.

          Senior IT Coordinator
          US State Department of Corrections

          Reliability


          There have been no issues whatsoever when using AccessPatrol.
          It’s easy to manage, and we can quickly block every unauthorized USB device in existence from connecting to our computers.

          Sr. Network Engineer
          US State Government Agency

          Conclusion

          Electronic voting technology provides a valuable productivity and accuracy boon to state, federal, and local governments.

          Unfortunately these systems can be manipulated by bad actors if critical security controls are not implemented.

          Robust systems, procedures, and controls must be implemented to protect democracy and the population’s faith in the integrity of electronic voting.

          AccessPatrol serves an integral role in the modern day electoral process by ensuring that election technology is protected against data security risks posed by insider threats, rogue removable drives, and wireless peripherals.

          Access Patrol has made our lives easy. We never have to worry about what may happen when someone plugs a device into our machines. -Nicolas Scheetz (IT Service Desk Supervisor, First Choice Health)

          Ready to Get Started?

          CurrentWare’s computer monitoring and cybersecurity software provides state and local governments with advanced awareness and control over how their technology is used.

          Reach out to our team today to learn how the CurrentWare Suite will ensure the productivity and security of your organization.

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          Stop Data Theft to USB Devices

          AccessPatrol is USB control software to protect sensitive data against theft to portable storage devices.

          • Block USB devices
          • USB file activity alerts
          • Block file transfers

          AccessPatrol peripheral device permissions mockup block usb

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