IFES’s Election Cyber Readiness Network (ECRN) is designed to bring together key technology partners, election commissions, and other stakeholders to form regional and national strategies to protect elections from digital threats and support long-term electoral integrity. ECRN provides a forum for election managers to connect with industry partners and regional peers to work towards a better understanding of the diverse and rapidly shifting cyber threats they face in election operations through knowledge sharing and cyber threat intelligence and plan accordingly.
IFES is currently conducting outreach to identify election commissions, civil society organizations (CSOs), and technology industry members to join the ECRN to kick off programming in 2023.
The network will help commissions connect and share knowledge about challenges and best practices in cybersecurity, disinformation, and commonalities in their threat environment. We will bring election commissions, civil society, and industry together to proactively plan for elections and build resilience and operational readiness over time. We will assist in the development of country-specific security, incident response, and strategic communications plans, conduct joint tabletop and scenario planning exercises, and help commissions and their stakeholders forge new models of collaboration and peer support.
IFES will establish threat intelligence channels to ensure election commissions remain up to date on the global cybersecurity and disinformation environment and are aware of attacks faced by their peers globally. We will help the commissions communicate with cybersecurity response communities and will direct commissions to relevant resources. Industry-specific resources such as Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs), Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTS), and trust-based security communities will be available for members. The network will create a channel for election commissions, in coordination with cybersecurity companies and stakeholders, to detect and quickly respond to incidents during elections.
The risk of cyber and disinformation attacks urgently needs to be integrated into election risk management practices. The ECRN will serve as a mechanism to share and build upon good practice as election commissions integrate and adapt industry-standard enterprise processes for risk management to protect elections and public confidence in them.