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US Runs Election Security Exercise Amid Continuing Allegations of Meddling - DHS

© REUTERS / Shannon StapletonAn electronic billboard displays a vote hashtag at Times Square in New York, U.S., November 7, 2016
An electronic billboard displays a vote hashtag at Times Square in New York, U.S., November 7, 2016 - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ran its first national exercise on election security this week, the agency said in a news release amid continuing unsubstantiated allegations in both chambers of Congress that Russia intervened in the 2016 presidential election.

"This week, the DHS hosted the ‘Tabletop the Vote 2018: DHS’ National Election Cyber Exercise,’ a three-day, first-of-its-kind exercise to assist DHS and our federal partners, state and local election officials, and private vendors," the release said on Wednesday.

The DHS explained the exercise had as its goal to identify best practices and areas for improvement in cyber incident planning, preparedness, identification, response and recovery.

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The exercise covered "news and social media manipulation related to political candidates and the conduct of elections; Spear phishing campaigns targeting elections officials and personnel; Disruption of voter registration information systems and processes," the release said.

The exercise also simulated denial of service attacks and web defacements impacting board of election websites and web applications, malware infections impacting electronic voting machines and election management system software; and the exploitation of state and county election networks, the DHS said.

Officials from 44 US states, the Election Assistance Commission, the Departments of Defense and Justice, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Security Agency and US Cyber Command participated, the DHS added.

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