Yubikey (gguy/Shutterstock.com)

Kentucky county clerks to authenticate via Yubikey

Kentucky is planning to equip all the commonwealth’s 120 county clerks with Yubikey devices to enable two-factor authentication that will better protect the state’s voter registration system from unauthorized access.

Users insert a Yubikey token into the USB ports on their laptops and touch its button to verify they are a local human user and not a remote hacker.

The Yubikeys will be made available thanks to a federal grant obtained via a joint partnership of the Kentucky Secretary of State, the mayor of Lexington, Ky., the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“In 2020, despite the pandemic, we had a successful election thanks to our state and local officials, who kept our citizens safe, while making secure voting more accessible and more convenient,” Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said in an April 7 announcement. “Now Secretary of State [Michael] Adams is taking the next step by helping us add another layer of security. We greatly appreciate his work. Free and fair elections are essential to our democracy.”

“We have made great strides in improving election security these past 15 months, but there is more to do,” Secretary of State Michael Adams said.

While Kentucky’s elections are secure, Adams said, “this is about risk assessment.  Just because something hasn’t happened doesn’t mean that it couldn’t happen in the future.” He added that this type of security has been proven in the private sector before being brought to the election process, WEKU radio reported.

Lexington recently approved the grant for use and will deploy the tokens over the next year, in advance of the 2022 elections.

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