National Cybersecurity Center, Space ISAC Showcases at Small Sat Conference and Announces Mobile Voting Pilot in Utah County

 Pilot Comes After Announcement of Successful Third-Party Audit of NCC’s Denver Pilot 

LOGAN, UT, August 5, 2019 – National Cybersecurity Center (NCC), a national non-profit for cybersecurity influencers is attending the 33rd AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites at Utah State University. At the conference, the NCC is showcasing the Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC), the only space-dedicated ISAC, which is run by the NCC. NCC and Space ISAC serve cyber influencers from commercial, academia, government and military and work together to build and deliver a research and development capability, cybersecurity training curriculum and an analysis portal to ultimately empower people to secure space communications. 

Erin Miller, Director at National Cybersecurity Center, said, “Space based capabilities are integral to military, civilian and commercial applications, so it’s imperative we begin breaking down silos for information sharing of threats and vulnerabilities to secure our world.”

The formation of the Space ISAC supports the White House’s National Cyber Strategy, published September 23, 2018, which states that “the Administration will enhance efforts to protect our space assets and support infrastructure from evolving cyber threats,” while working “with industry and international partners to strengthen the cyber resilience of existing and future space systems.” While at the conference, NCC will continue to grow awareness of and membership for the Space ISAC.

NCC comes to Utah after announcing last week that Utah County will be the third jurisdiction in the United States to partner with NCC to implement mobile voting in their upcoming municipal primary election in August. The pilot will offer blockchain-based mobile voting to active-duty military, their eligible dependents and other overseas voters using their smartphones.

The pilot is a collaboration between the Utah County Elections Division, the National Cybersecurity Center, Voatz, and Tusk Philanthropies. Eligible voters will be able to participate in the upcoming election by opting in to vote electronically on their smartphones. Voters will fill out an absentee ballot request, complete their identity authentication and verification on the Voatz application, and submit their ballot for the election. Voting began June 28th and continues through 8:00 pm on Election Day, August 13.

“I am thrilled that Utah County is partnering with Tusk Philanthropies, Voatz and the National Cybersecurity Center to bring these secure, blockchain-based voting options to Utahns overseas for the upcoming municipal election,” said Spencer Cox, Lieutenant Governor of Utah. “This pilot project is emblematic of Utah’s commitment to safe, efficient elections for all — especially our brave military and their families all over the world. The opportunity for these Utahns to vote via smartphone means they will more securely participate in the democratic processes they are serving to protect.”

The upcoming Utah County pilot will be an opportunity to build off the learnings NCC gained in Denver, which successfully completed a third-party security audit that showed votes cast over the blockchain were recorded and tabulated accurately during the 2019 election.

The purpose of the audit was for NCC and members of the public to conduct an independent, third-party audit of the Voatz election results. The NCC worked with Voatz to develop a web-based tool that displays the voter-verified receipt, the tabulated ballot image and the blockchain transaction.

“The goal of this audit was to prove that mobile voting can be successful and secure, while also being transparent,” said Forrest Senti, Director of Business and Government Initiatives at the National Cybersecurity Center. “We had a diverse group of volunteers from the public use their expertise to verify the election. Together, our volunteers and the NCC team determined that this pilot was successful in allowing secure, mobile voting for UOCAVA voters in the Denver Municipal Elections. With the audit and the blockchain, we are making strides towards conducting an end-to-end verified election and redefining the process of voting so that everyone can cast their ballot safely and confidently.”

The audit conducted by the NCC and members of the public looked at three main components when reviewing all the votes cast in the election: 

    • A voter verified digital receipt that was sent to each voter along with an anonymized copy to the Denver election office.
    • A scanned version of the tabulated paper ballot that was generated for every mobile vote and printed by the Denver election office on election day for tabulation.
    • The anonymized blockchain records representing each oval that was marked by the voters as part of their mobile ballot submission.

The final numbers showed that voter turnout doubled from the 2015 election and a post-election survey from the Denver Elections Division found that 100 percent of respondents said they favored secure mobile voting over all methods available to them.  This was the first step towards the eventual goal of conducting an end-to-end verifiable election, which can be routinely and quickly audited by citizens and independent organizations. NCC and their mobile-voting initiative partners look forward to taking this important work to Utah County.

 

NCC History

The vision for NCC came from the Governor of Colorado’s trip to Israel in 2016, where he assessed that we need to take an assertive role to secure the world. The NCC is a direct result of the Governor of Colorado’s vision to secure the world. NCC is a member driven community of cyber influencers from government, academia, industry and military. The NCC is tasked with policy advisement and awareness, blockchain training and offers NCC certifications.

The NCC’s support to Space ISAC will create a public-private alliance congruent with the legislation that envisioned it. NCC also has a goal to establish a cybersecurity institute and think tank that influences public policy and channels national resources. NCC leads a collaborative effort to use blockchain technology to develop a secure mobile voting app and offering blockchain training.

Vance Brown, CEO of the National Cybersecurity Center, said, “This intersection of space and cybersecurity represents a unique public-private partnership at the tip of the spear and is in perfect alignment with NCC’s vision to secure the world. The greatest threat to our space assets is our cyber interference. The NCC is uniquely qualified to facilitate the mitigation of cyber risks.”