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SHSU cyber security expert weighs in on foreign election hacking

Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 3:36 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Texas (KBTX) - National security officials announced that both Iran and Russia have obtained American voter registration data last week, and they warned that the attacks on our democracy may only increase as we inch toward Election Day.

Brad Glisson, the director of Cyber Forensics Intelligence Center at Sam Houston State University joined us on First News at Four to talk about these threats and what officials are doing to combat them.

Glisson says hackers can interfere using social media, attacking the polling stations and associated organizations in an attempt to acquire sensitive information they can use, sell, or make public.

“The idea is to create problems with the elections process, to create strife if you will, so the public loses faith in the election process,” Glisson said.

Glisson says hackers will disrupt services by creating fear to prevent people to go to polling stations, hack websites to put out false information, and they can conduct voter fraud.

At SHSU, they teach students the cyber security side of life, but also the digital forensics side. That is the extraction of any kind of digital date from any kind of digital media.

“So we’re looking at not only the security, but how do we fight in a legal environment,” Glisson said.

The goal of these cyber hacks is easy: sway an election.

“A more realistic goal is to create problems, slow down an election process,” Glisson continued. “If they can do that, then we’re talking about electronic hacking.”

Glisson says we are becoming more dependent on technology, so he teaches his students how to stay one step ahead of the hackers.

“Don’t click on emails that you get if you’re not sure who sent them to you, if the data in the email doesn’t look right or the attachment looks like a virus, don’t click on it,” Glisson continued. “Those little things will help quite a bit in the long run.”

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