Department of Homeland Security leaders are boosting coordination to protect the upcoming vote amid a flurry of accusations that the Russian government is attempting to interfere with the midterm elections, a top official said.

“We are turning up the knob,” Robert Kolasky, newly appointed head of the department’s risk management center, told reporters at the Intelligence and National Security Summit Sept. 4.

The department is still working through the details, Kolasky said, but suggested the heightened attention is expected to begin around Sept. 21, when military voting begins.

“We will take advantage of the structures we have already established and just turn it up,” Kolasky said.

U.S. officials have warned that the midterm elections are being targeted by foreign influence operations. The Russian government has been accused of hacking both Democratic and Republican officials or supporters.

Kolasky is head of the newly created risk center, which was announced in July. The center hopes to protect critical infrastructure from cyberattacks in part through threat sharing. That focus is timely. When asked what government officials needed most from industry to protect critical infrastructure from cyberattacks, a group of government officials and experts at the forum said they wanted more information sharing.

“Don’t worry if it is too small to share because, I really cannot stress it enough, we don’t know how that small bit of information might be connected to a larger issue unless we have it,” said Tonya Ugoretz, the director of the cyber threat intelligence integration center at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

“Much of the activity we see may be long-term preparation down the line.”

If “in addition to sharing the information we are assessing problems together and investing that process, I think it will make a big difference,” in combating cyberattacks, said Scott DePasquale, head of the Financial Systemic Analysis and Resilience Center, which coordinates risk to the banking sector.

Justin Lynch is the Associate Editor at Fifth Domain. He has written for the New Yorker, the Associated Press, Foreign Policy, the Atlantic, and others. Follow him on Twitter @just1nlynch.

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