Virginia Defense Force joins election cybersecurity fight

Virginia Defense Force joins election cybersecurity fight

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia National Guard troops are helping to secure Virginia’s elections this November. The Virginia Defense Force (VDF) is working this weekend to work on preventing a cyber attack.

"When they came to us and asked us to help with the election, I mean that just made it even more important," said VDF Warrant Officer William Rimmer.

VDF is an all-volunteer group that’s attempting to thwart any cyberattack on the election.

"What we're going to use is like a copy of windows that has all sorts of holes in it. Then we're going to use our tools to find those holes, see what we need to plug them and then kind of make a report," said Rimmer.

Select members of VDF are recreating a small town network. Then, the entire unit will conduct a vulnerability assessment of that network and create an action plan on how to fix the problems. After that, the unit will go to cities, counties, and towns across the state to assess voting systems and help those places fix any issues

"We want people to vote and we want it to count and we want it to be secure and we want people to have confidence that their vote counts and nobody has interfered in the elections," said VDF Lt. Col. James Crawford.

Tech For troops is offering up the training space for the specialized unit. The nonprofit got involved more than two months ago and is also providing equipment for the weekend event.

“They talked about the elections and supplying the elections and I said use our training room, use our equipment, we’d be happy to help,” said Tech For Troops Executive Director Mark Casper.

In 2019, Governor Ralph Northam signed the order creating cybersecurity standards for all jurisdictions that can access the state election database. VDF is just one part of a larger attempt from the Virginia Board of Elections to make sure every vote counts.

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