Press Release

Bipartisan Secretaries in Kentucky & West Virginia Arm Candidates with Cybersecurity Playbook

| Jan. 30, 2018

To mark their states' candidate-filing deadlines, Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic Secretary of State of Kentucky, and Mac Warner, the Republican Secretary of State of West Virginia, are distributing the "Cybersecurity Campaign Playbook" to candidates in their states seeking to be on the ballot in 2018.

The Playbook was created by Defending Digital Democracy (DDD), the bipartisan initiative at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School. The document was originally released in PDF and online formats in November 2017 with the goal of providing political campaigns, candidates and their staff with the basic information to prevent digital attacks.

West Virginia's filing deadline was Saturday, Jan. 27, while Kentucky's is Tuesday, Jan. 30. Election officials are distributing the Playbook via email.

"Election officials are constantly on guard to protect our election infrastructures from those who seek to undermine our democratic process. And campaigns and political organizations are targets, too," Secretary Grimes said. "I'm proud to partner with Secretary Warner to provide candidates in our states with the Cybersecurity Campaign Playbook. It is a fundamental resource to help them defend their campaigns in an environment of unprecedented cyber risks."

"The Cybersecurity Campaign Playbook is an important tool for all candidates and their campaigns. It's a good introduction to cybersecurity. As feedback is provided to DDD, the Playbook will become even more effective. It should be highly recommended reading for all campaign staff members," said Secretary Warner.

"From the outset, our goal at Defending Digital Democracy has been providing practical tools to help candidates in both parties reduce the risk of foreign interventions in campaigns," said Deborah Plunkett, former Director of the NSA's Information Assurance Directorate, who led DDD's effort to draft the Playbook.

"Election officials in the states are on the front lines in the struggle to secure our elections, and we are pleased they are working alongside us in this important mission."

"It's going to take all of us working together in a bipartisan fashion to prevent foreign adversaries from interfering with our elections," said Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign manager, and Matt Rhoades, Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign manager, who are Senior Fellows and co-leaders of DDD.

"The 2018 midterms are right around the corner, and our team is working hard to provide practical tools to candidates and election officials."

It is a living, breathing document that is updated as technology and threats change. These are baseline recommendations, not a comprehensive reference to achieve the highest level of security possible. Next month, Defending Digital Democracy will be releasing similar tools for election officials.

Since launching in July 2017, DDD has held multiple tabletop exercises with a bipartisan group of election officials to help prevent and prepare for cyber attacks.

DDD is led by Eric Rosenbach, Co-Director of the Belfer Center and former Assistant Secretary of Defense, who recruited Mook and Rhoades to the project as co-leaders. It has a bipartisan senior advisory group made up of leaders in technology, cyber security, and national security, including:

·      Heather Adkins, Director, Information Security and Privacy, Google;

·      Dmitri Alperovich, Co-Founder and CTO, CrowdStrike;

·      Chris Collins, Co-Founder, First Atlantic Capital;

·      Siobhan Gorman, Director, Brunswick;

·      Yasmin Green, Director of Research and Development, Google Jigsaw;

·      Stuart Holliday, President and CEO, Meridian International Center;

·      former United States Ambassador for Special Political Affairs at the United Nations;

·      Kent Lucken, Managing Director, Citi Private Bank;

·      Nicco Mele, Director, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy – Harvard Kennedy School;

·      Debora Plunkett, former Director, National Security Agency’s Information Assurance Directorate;

·      Suzanne E. Spaulding, former Under Secretary, National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) at the Department of Homeland Security;

·      Alex Stamos, Chief Security Officer, Facebook.


Contact: Sharon Wilke, Associate Director of Communications, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs:| 617-495-9858.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:Bipartisan Secretaries in Kentucky & West Virginia Arm Candidates with Cybersecurity Playbook.” Press Release, January 30, 2018.


Eric Rosenbach