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Georgia’s Central Election Commission to Enhance Cybersecurity with U.S. Help

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The Central Election Commission (CEC), a supreme body charged with overseeing the election process in Georgia, has announced it will enhance its cybersecurity capabilities with the support of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), a U.S.-based non-profit ahead of the crucial October 2020 parliamentary elections.

In accordance with the agreement signed by the two parties, the IFES will help Georgia’s election management body update its server infrastructure and train CEC’s staff in cybersecurity within the framework of the project “Supporting Elections and Political Processes in Georgia” financed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

New server infrastructure will enable the CEC to better safeguard its information assets and ensure “smooth and safe” flow of online services aimed at voters and electoral stakeholders.

Considering the contemporary challenges, the CEC has been working to boost cybersecurity efforts during the past several years, the electoral body noted. According to the CEC, it has already set up information security control mechanisms to ensure “uninterrupted implementation” of electoral processes, proper functioning of technical system, and integrity and confidentiality of its information assets.

Election cybersecurity has recently come under the spotlight in Georgia after a tech news website reported about a possible leak of personal data of around 4,9 million Georgian voters (including the deceased) on March 30. According to the reporting, a user behind the data breach claimed the data originated from the official portal of the Central Election Commission of Georgia. The CEC refuted that the exposed data had been retrieved from their repository – “we do not store personal information such as ID number, middle name and etc. contained in the leaked records,” it said. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has launched an investigation into the alleged data leak.

Georgia was hit by a large-scale cyberattack directed from Russia in October, 2019. The attack targeted official websites of the Georgian President’s Administration, common courts, city halls and city councils, as well as non-governmental organizations and media outlets. In public statements released on February 20, Georgia, the U.S. and the UK accused the Main Division of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (GRU) of planning and carrying out the said attack. Russia rebuffed the accusations as “unfounded” and “politically motivated.”

Also read: 

Georgian Voter Data Reportedly Leaked Online

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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