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Cerro Gordo County working with Secretary of State's office to secure voter information

County participating in a few programs to protect election systems from falling victim to hackers

Posted: Jul. 11, 2018 9:24 PM

MASON CITY, Iowa - Election officials are gearing up for the mid-terms in November, and they're wanting to ensure voters that their voices will be heard, and protected.

Cerro Gordo County auditor Riley Dirksen says the county is participating in a few programs in conjunction with the Secretary of State's office to make sure a vote isn't compromised. In addition to participating in a cybersecurity self-assessment, which will help identify strengths and weak spots, as well as "Securing the Human."

It's an online training course on the do's and don'ts of working in an auditor's office, where hackers may be trying to get access to secured information.

"Essentially things to look for in emails, to make sure they're legit. Just always raising the level of consciousness of security, just always be aware to not assume anything is what it is," Dirksen says.

He adds that the response to something like a security threat is sometimes more important than completely preventing one from happening.

"It's how you handle it, if you're ready, when it happens, to cut it off...if it's a hacker to limit their access as soon as you identify it. A lot of the systems you put in place are monitored, just so you can see that. So if you see something, you get notified right away, and then you are prepared to respond to it."

County employees will receive this training before the general election.

Dirksen adds that Cerro Gordo county has always been a leader in striving to strengthen votes and information; he previously worked with previous auditor Ken Kline to develop Precinct Atlas, a management software used to correctly process voters based on a specific circumstance.

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