The question on the mind of many voting security experts is not whether hackers could disrupt a U.S. election. Instead, they wonder how likely an election hack might be and how it might happen. The good news is a hack that changes the outcome of a U.S. presidential election would be difficult, although not impossible. First of all, there are technology challenges — more than 20 voting technologies are used across the country, including a half dozen electronic voting machine models and several optical scanners, in addition to hand-counted paper ballots. But the major difficulty of hacking an election is less a technological challenge than an organizational one, with hackers needing to marshal and manage the resources needed to pull it off, election security experts say. And a handful of conditions would need to fall into place for an election hack to work. Many U.S. voting systems still have vulnerabilities, and many states use statistically unsound election auditing practices, said Joe Kiniry, a long-time election security researcher. “With enough money and resources, I don’t think [hacking the election] is actually a technical challenge,” said Kiniry, now CEO and chief scientist at Free and Fair, an election technology developer. “It’s a social, a political, and an infrastructural challenge because you’d have a medium-sized conspiracy to achieve such a goal. Technically, it’s not rocket science.”
… Fifteen states still use outdated electronic voting machines without attached printers, which can be used to audit their internal vote counts. More than half of the states are still using these direct-recording electronic machines or DREs, with or without attached printers, and many voting security experts say both types of DREs have vulnerabilities.
Among the states using DREs without paper trails are potential swing states Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida. Those states don’t use DREs statewide, so hackers would have to research the jurisdictions where DREs are still being used. Potential swing states using DREs with attached printers in some or all jurisdictions: Ohio, Nevada, Wisconsin, and North Carolina.
The U.S. has more than 5,000 voting jurisdictions, noted Douglas Jones, a computer science professor at the University of Iowa. “Some run very tight ships, but some are sloppy,” he said by email. “Because they’re all at least a bit different, you’ll need to pick a jurisdiction that is vulnerable and where the number of votes you can steal is enough to make a difference.”
Full Article: 3 nightmare election hack scenarios | CSO Online.