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Cybersecurity experts monitor Indiana elections

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- The cybersecurity experts gathered in downtown Indianapolis Tuesday night might very well be the first line of defense should hackers decide to try to upend the electoral system here in Indiana.

“We’re looking for potential attacks on the election, whether that’s a denial of service or an overall change to the election,” said Tom Gorup, security operations lead for the effort—a first-of-its kind public-private partnership that brings together experts in the field of cybersecurity from the government, universities and the private sector. Each person here monitors a constantly changing flow of data coming into their control room from social media, the internet and even the dark web.

“Technology certainly brings better things to our life,” said Dr. Michael Frank, of Anderson University, which is also participating in the cybersecurity effort.

“It certainly makes voting easier for most people, but it also puts our democratic system at risk in a way that was not true when we were using paper ballots,” said Frank. And it’s up to this partnership to look for those risks. On the other hand they’re also watching for any problems caused by non-malicious occurrences like power outages or server breakdowns.

“We want to be sure that we have people in place to respond if there is a problem, so as to help retain confidence in the voting system,” said Dr. Eugene Spafford, a cybersecurity expert from Purdue University.

The effort is hosted by Rook Security at that company’s offices in Indianapolis. Organizers say they hope to see similar partnerships in other states during future elections.