Pate launches new measures to bolster Iowa’s election cyber security


DES MOINES — Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate announced a new cyber security initiative to ensure the protection of Iowa’s election infrastructure. Iowa is the second state in the nation to create a Vulnerability Disclosure Program (VDP), inviting private sector security researchers to test Iowa’s system. Secretary Pate is partnering with Bugcrowd, a national leader in crowd sourced cyber security, for this initiative.

“We already have a strong infrastructure in place, but election cyber security is a race without a finish line,” Secretary Pate said. “We are bolstering our cyber maturity by allowing responsible testing and reporting of our systems to the private sector.”

VDP is part of the core cyber security framework recommended by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST). Similar programs are utilized within the federal government and several fortune 500 companies. More than 50 researchers have already partnered with the Secretary of State’s Office on this new venture. To participate in the program, researchers should visit

“We are excited to partner with the State of Iowa to proactively counter cyber threats with the help of a crowd of researchers that specialize in election security, ensuring a strong and resilient cyber security posture and force multiplier to safeguard this year’s election,” said Bugcrowd CEO Ashish Gupta.

Protecting elections with proven cyber security controls is a top priority for the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office. Forging and building upon critical partnerships with federal, state, and local authorities as well as private sector industry leaders allows for continuous improvements to Iowa’s election infrastructure.

“Our latest partnership with Bugcrowd is yet another proactive measure we are taking to ensure our elections are cyber secure,” said Jeff Franklin, Chief Cybersecurity Officer for the Secretary of State’s Office. “We look forward to actively engaging the private security researcher community so we can strengthen our systems and ensure Iowa continues to be a leader in elections and cyber security.”

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Secretary Pate received the 2019 IDEAS Award from the National Association of Secretaries of State for his efforts to protect election cyber security in all 99 counties.