Yes, Hackers Can Easily Break into Voting Machines

Sometime last fall I wrote a post about the risk of the election being hacked. This was based on my experience on a federal commission appointed to study what went wrong in the 2000 election and to make recommendations about how to avoid another fiasco. The commission was chaired by former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. One of the issues we investigated was the reliability of voting machines. Everyone wanted to get rid of the “hanging chads” that marred the voting in Florida.

The obvious answer was to switch to electronic machines. No hanging chads. No uncertainty. We commissioned a study of voting machines. The most foolproof machine was the mechanical one that was used in New York City and other places. The voter goes into a booth with a curtain. When he pulls a giant lever, the curtain closes. He or she pulls little levers to cast a ballot. When the voter pulls the big lever to open the curtain, his vote is recorded. Nothing ambiguous. However, this machine was becoming obsolete, the manufacturer was not making them anymore as demand for electronic machines grew.

The experts told us that the electronic machines were susceptible to hacking but no one took that seriously. Who would hack an election?

Now we learn that hacking machines is easy. The more they are networked, the easier it is.

“LAS VEGAS – One of the nation’s largest cybersecurity conferences is inviting attendees to get hands-on experience hacking a slew of voting machines, demonstrating to researchers how easy the process can be.

“It took me only a few minutes to see how to hack it,” said security consultant Thomas Richards, glancing at a Premier Election Solutions machine currently in use in Georgia.

“The DEF CON cybersecurity conference is held annually in Las Vegas. This year, for the first time, the conference is hosting a “Voting Machine Village,” where attendees can try to hack a number of systems and help catch vulnerabilities.

“The conference acquired 30 machines for hackers to toy with. Every voting machine in the village was hacked.”

from novemoore


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