Cybersecurity boot camp could benefit local election officials
This summer, about forty computer science majors from UVA, Virginia Tech, VCU, Norfolk State, George Mason and Old Dominion will be on duty at polling places around Virginia – serving as interns with election registrars.
“Virginia’s local registrars, especially in the small localities, don’t have cybersecurity experience themselves,” says Jack Davidson, a professor of computer science at the University of Virginia. The mission, he adds, is to prevent cyberattacks and ensure accurate results.
“The students have background on how to set up computers and how to set up networks, and then they take this course that also trains them on how elections are run.”
The students may also help local registrars to comply with new state guidelines.
“The Virginia Board of Elections has a set of security standards. That they’d like each locality to meet, and it’s a fairly long list, so many of the localities are trying to cover those standards and the students do have some skills that can help that effort.”
Davidson hopes the experience will get some students interested in working for local government when they graduate. The program is funded by the National Security Agency and will benefit 19 communities around the state.