‘All about prevention’: Virginians already working to protect votes against cyber threats

Local Election HQ

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — It’s one issue that’s non partisan.

“This is all about prevention,” said Lieutenant Colonel James Crawford, Commander of the Virginia Defense Force’s cyber detachment.

This weekend, members of that cyber group will be training in Richmond. The group’s focus is cyber security across Virginia’s voting districts. The efforts come more than eight months ahead of November’s elections.

“We live in a democracy and everybody wants to know that their vote counts and their vote hasn’t been interfered with,” said Crawford.

About a dozen cyber professionals will be training on Saturday inside the Tech4Troops computer lab in Henrico.

These professionals from all over the commonwealth are volunteers working for the Virginia National Guard and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. Crawford says we live in a world where cyber threats could come from any direction.

“It really knows no boundaries so we have to be prepared in the homeland as well as outside of it,” he explained.

This group from Virginia’s Defense Force will work with small towns and counties in the coming months to find cyber vulnerabilities and strengthen networks ahead of the general election.

Crawford likes to think Virginia is “ahead of the curve” by taking a preventative approach to election cyber security. He told 8News he is planning to vote in both the primary and general election and wants those votes to be safe.

“I very much want my vote to count and I don’t want it to be interfered with,” he said. “I think that’s a no-brainer. I think every Virginian that’s going to vote shares that sentiment with me.”

Just one example of how government must constantly evolve to fight modern threats, the cyber detachment of VDF was just formed last summer.


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