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Voting Machine Makers Give US Access in Fight Against Hackers

In anticipation of Russian attempts to interfere with future elections, voting-machine manufacturers have agreed to share details of their engineering systems with the Department of Homeland Security.

Companies that make voting machines and election systems have given the Homeland Security Department access to engineering details and operations so the U.S. can identify potential vulnerabilities hackers might exploit heading into the 2020 election, a department official said.

The new cooperation has allowed Homeland Security to map out the ecosystem of election voting systems and processes to help state and local governments, as well as private companies, defend against hackers, Jeanette Manfra, assistant director for cybersecurity, said at an Intelligence and National Security Summit on Thursday.

Makers of voting machines and election systems are cooperating voluntarily, representing a breakthrough for the government, Manfra said in an interview after the conference in the Washington suburbs.

“I think we’ve made a lot of progress with the vendors of those systems,” Manfra said. “We know what makes up the systems and how it actually works.”

Officials, citing Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, predicted lively combat between hackers and government protectors of cybersecurity in the run-up to next year’s presidential election.

“I think it’s going to be pretty sporty actually,” Lieutenant General Stephen Fogarty, head of Army Cyber Command, said at the conference.

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