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DoD, DHS Prepare for Potential Cyber Attacks in Upcoming Midterm Elections

The cybersecurity teams of the departments of Defense and Homeland Security have started preparing to respond to cyberattacks that may arise in the upcoming U.S. elections, FCW reported Thursday.

John Felker, director of the DHS' National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, said at the Professional Services Council’s Vision conference that DHS is employing and training 50 personnel from the U.S. Cyber Command for cyber incident response operations in a real environment.

He added that DHS will lose some of its skilled staff if CYBERCOM forces do not participate in hands-on exercises for incident response.

The effort complies with a Defense Support of Civil Authorities request that seeks to give permission to the DoD and DHS to facilitate critical infrastructure cyberattack mitigation initiatives.

Jeanette Manfra, assistant secretary for the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications at DHS, clarified at a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace event that the department is currently only focused in preparing for potential cyberattacks during the midterm elections.

"To be very clear, there is no intelligence or anything that would suggest we would be in that situation, but we wanted to have all of the various, different bureaucratic and legal agreements pre-negotiated, settled," she said.

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