NEWPORT, RI – Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea convened over 140 elections and IT officials for a Cybersecurity Summit today at Salve Regina University's Pell Center in Newport. The five-hour forum gave Rhode Island elections officials from nearly every city and town an opportunity to talk with national and statewide cybersecurity experts on several topics, including:
* Current best practices on the state and local level to secure election systems ahead of 2020 * Combating misinformation and disinformation campaigns * Common causes of data breaches and ways to prevent them * Actions being taken on the federal level to protect elections
"Protecting the integrity of every vote requires teamwork at all levels," said Secretary Gorbea. "We have incredible expertise and resources available from state and federal organizations. My office will continue creating spaces for learning and providing resources that ensure everyone involved in elections is empowered with the latest information to be vigilant against cyberattacks."
Those delivering remarks and fielding questions at the summit included:
* Congressman Jim Langevin, (D) Rhode Island (via video) * Diane Mederos, Chair, Rhode Island Board of Elections * Noah Praetz, Senior Election Security Advisor, Department of Homeland Security * Col. Michael Tetreault, Rhode Island National Guard * Lieutenant Eric Yelle, Rhode Island State Police * Jessica Cone, Account Management Specialist, Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC) * Dr. James Ludes, Vice President for Public Research and Initiatives, Pell Center at Salve Regina University * Francesca Spidalieri, Senior Fellow for Cyber Leadership, Pell Center at Salve Regina University
October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Secretary Gorbea has fostered collaboration with elections and cybersecurity experts for years. Under her leadership, Rhode Island has joined several cybersecurity groups including the Center for Internet Security (CIS), the Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) and the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC). Secretary Gorbea serves on the Executive Committee of EI-ISAC as well.
She also convened a Cybersecurity Summit of experts in October 2017, and has enrolled Rhode Island in several cybersecurity exercises with groups like the Department of Homeland Security, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Guard, and the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.