DES MOINES, IOWA (October 1, 2020) Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate announces a new cybersecurity initiative to ensure the protection of Iowa’s election infrastructure. Iowa is the second state in the nation to create a Vulnerability Disclosure Program (VDP), inviting private sector security researchers to test Iowa’s system. Sec Pate is partnering with Bugcrowd, a national leader in crowd-sourced cybersecurity, for this initiative.

“We already have a strong infrastructure in place, but election cybersecurity is a race without a finish line,” Sec Pate said. “We are bolstering our cyber-maturity by allowing responsible testing and reporting of our systems to the private sector.”

VDP is part of the core cybersecurity framework recommended by the US Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Similar programs are utilized within the federal government and several fortune 500 companies. More than 50 researchers have already partnered with the Secretary of State’s Office on this new venture. To participate in the program, researchers should visit sos.iowa.gov/vulnerabilitydisclosureprogram.html.

“We are excited to partner with the State of Iowa to proactively counter cyber threats with the help of a crowd of researchers that specialize in election security, ensuring a strong and resilient cybersecurity posture and force multiplier to safeguard this year’s election,” said Bugcrowd CEO Ashish Gupta.

Protecting elections with proven cybersecurity controls is a top priority for the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office. Forging and building upon critical partnerships with federal, state, and local authorities as well as private sector industry leaders allows for continuous improvements to Iowa’s election infrastructure.

“Our latest partnership with Bugcrowd is yet another proactive measure we are taking to ensure our elections are cyber-secure,” said Jeff Franklin, Chief Cybersecurity Officer for the Secretary of State’s Office. “We look forward to actively engaging the private security researcher community so we can strengthen our systems and ensure Iowa continues to be a leader in elections and cybersecurity.”

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Sec Pate received the prestigious 2019 IDEAS Award from the National Association of Secretaries of State for his efforts to protect election cybersecurity in all 99 counties.

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