PROVIDENCE, RI – Today Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea convened 150 elections and IT officials for Rhode Island's 2021 Cybersecurity Summit. The three-hour virtual forum gave elections officials from every Rhode Island community an opportunity to interact with national and statewide cybersecurity experts on several topics, including:
o An overview of cyber threats during the 2020 election cycle o The threat landscape for 2022 o Current best practices to secure election systems o Combating misinformation and disinformation campaigns o Actions being taken on the federal level to protect elections
"I have spent years defending our elections against threats from bad actors. Cybersecurity must start at the local level," said Secretary Gorbea. "I will continue building partnerships between our state and local election officials and cybersecurity experts, and I'm committing resources to support our local government so Rhode Islanders can trust in the integrity of every vote."
The 2021 Cybersecurity Summit featured presentations from Congressman Jim Langevin, Board of Elections Chairwoman Diane Mederos, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pell Center at Salve Regina University, and the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC).
"We must defend our democracy from increasing cyber threats, which threaten to undermine our elections and shake Rhode Islanders' faith in our institutions," said Rep. Jim Langevin, co-Chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus. "I thank Secretary of State Gorbea for her leadership in convening dozens of leading cybersecurity experts to share best practices for protecting our elections."
Secretary Gorbea has fostered collaboration with elections and cybersecurity experts for years. She convened similar Cybersecurity Summits of experts in October of 2017 and 2019. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC). 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 EI-ISAC.