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Election Security

A version of this story was originally published by Colorado Public Radio.

Updated Dec. 23, 5:40 p.m. ET

A top employee of Dominion Voting Systems, who has gone into hiding after becoming the subject of conspiracy theories on the right since the election, is suing the Trump campaign, a number of campaign surrogates and pro-Trump media outlets, alleging defamation.

Updated at 9:34 p.m. ET

Christopher Krebs, the Department of Homeland Security director who had spearheaded a campaign to counter rumors about voter fraud, has been fired, President Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

Trump, in two misleading tweets about the security of the U.S. election, said Krebs' termination was "effective immediately."

In response, Krebs tweeted, "Honored to serve. We did it right. Defend Today, Secure [Tomorrow]."

Updated at 8:56 p.m. ET

There is "no evidence" the Nov. 3 election was compromised, committees within the Department of Homeland Security that worked on protecting U.S. voting systems affirmed Thursday. In a statement, they also called the 2020 election the "most secure in American history."

Updated at 8:33 p.m. ET

Iranian influence specialists are behind threatening emails sent to voters in Alaska and Florida, U.S. officials said on Wednesday evening and suggested that more such interference could be in store from Russia.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said the U.S. intelligence community believes Iranian and Russian operatives obtained voter-record information, which enabled Iran to target some people with intimidating emails based on party registration about how they'd better vote for President Trump "or else."

Updated at 4:39 p.m. ET

Authorities in government and Big Tech unveiled a number of actions and announcements on Thursday in the ongoing effort to defend the 2020 election from foreign interference.

The Treasury Department announced it's sanctioning a member of the Ukrainian parliament who waged an influence campaign aimed at the 2020 election — one who specifically spread "false and unsubstantiated narratives" about former Vice President Joe Biden.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort passed internal Trump campaign information to a Russian intelligence officer during the 2016 election, a new bipartisan Senate report concludes.

The findings draw a direct line between the president's former campaign chairman and Russian intelligence during the 2016 campaign.

Updated at 7:10 p.m. ET

The top counterintelligence official in the U.S. government warned Friday of ongoing interference and influence efforts by China, Russia and Iran.

William Evanina, who leads the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said that the U.S. government has assessed that China prefers President Trump losing the election, because Beijing considers him "unpredictable," while Russia is working to undermine Democrat Joe Biden.

It's 2016 all over again — at least from Russia's perspective.

Russia's state-sponsored messaging about Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign was more neutral in the fall.

But over the past six weeks, this coverage has shifted to mirror pro-Sanders talking points first used in the last presidential campaign, said Clint Watts of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, who has been monitoring Russian interference continuously.

"What's really come on strong just in the last 30 to 45 days are very similar narratives that we saw in 2016 about Sanders," Watts told NPR.

Russia's trolling specialists have evolved their disinformation and agitation techniques to become subtler and tougher to track, according to new research unveiled on Thursday.

A cache of Instagram posts captured by researchers showed that the Russians were "better at impersonating candidates" and that influence-mongers "have moved away from creating their own fake advocacy groups to mimicking and appropriating the names of actual American groups," wrote Young Mie Kim, a University of Wisconsin professor who analyzed the material with her team.

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The elections office of Florida's third-most populous county was breached by a crippling cyberattack in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election, NPR confirmed on Thursday.

There is no indication that the ransomware attack was connected to Russian interference efforts leading up to the last presidential race, but the revelation about it now shows how election officials are preparing for this year's election without knowing all the details of what happened before.

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Ninety percent of all Ohio counties are now considered compliant with an election security order issued by the Secretary of State last summer.

The Iowa Democratic Caucus failed to produce results on Monday night due to what state party officials cited as "inconsistencies with the reports."

Updated at 9:40 a.m. ET Tuesday

The Iowa caucuses aren't over yet. A delay in the results meant the state Democratic Party did not call the race Monday night as expected, leaving the candidates and their supporters in limbo.

Top election officials from all 50 states are meeting in Washington this week to prepare for 2020 — a gathering amid widespread concern over whether the upcoming elections will be fair and accurate, as well as free of the kind of foreign interference that marred the 2016 campaign.

The U.S. government says it's on high alert for cyberattacks from foreign countries in this election year. Yet private cybersecurity firms have often been the ones sounding the alarm, and in some cases, they are selling their services to the U.S. intelligence community.

"We've seen Iran impersonating political candidates," said Sandra Joyce, the head of global intelligence at FireEye, a leading cybersecurity company.

A district encompassing Greater Seattle is set to become the first in which every voter can cast a ballot using a smartphone — a historic moment for American democracy.

Threats to U.S. elections this year could be broader and more diverse than before, warns the spy world's boss for election security — and she also acknowledged the limits of her ability to tackle them.

Shelby Pierson, the intelligence community's election threats executive, told NPR in an exclusive interview that more nations may attempt more types of interference in the United States given the extensive lessons that have since been drawn about the Russian attack on the 2016 presidential election.

Weeks before the first votes of the 2020 presidential election, Americans report a high level of concern about how secure that election will be and worry about the perils of disinformation, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll.

Forty-one percent of those surveyed said they believed the U.S. is not very prepared or not prepared at all to keep November's election safe and secure.

Congress has allocated about $425 million in new funding for election security ahead of the 2020 presidential election, a Democratic congressional source confirmed to NPR on Monday.

The funding is part of a spending package expected to be passed by the end of the week.

Facebook announced new efforts Monday to curb the spread of false information on its platform ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

But, in an acknowledgement of the struggle the social network faces to stay ahead of groups intent on manipulating its users, Facebook said it had taken down another set of disinformation networks, this time tied to Iran and Russia. That adds to the more than 50 such networks the company said it has already removed in the past year.