Over the past few months, a steady stream of information has surfaced about Russian efforts to hack the 2016 presidential election. The attacks were specifically focused on voter databases and voting software, with attempts to alter or delete voter information in Illinois and Arizona and intrusions into campaign databases. Experts believe that the goal was to change the outcome of the election. In the past, the voting process wasn’t seen as a target for hackers. Most cyber criminals go after credit card data or Social Security numbers in order to steal peoples’ identities for financial gain. The 2016 presidential elections revealed a new way of thinking. Election hacking wasn’t driven by the desire to make money, but by an effort to meddle with election results, directly by targeting voter data and indirectly through leaks of confidential information to the media.
Elections that are vulnerable to hacking will undermine confidence in the security of the voting process, eroding voters’ faith and confidence in our democracy. More insidious still is the potential theft of sensitive voter data, which typically includes full name, address, date of birth, last four digits of Social Security number, voter history, activity status, felony convictions and military status. This detailed personal data would be a gold mine for cyber criminals bent on exploiting the election process or perpetrating identity theft.
With the next mid-term elections just a year away, states must move immediately to prevent future tampering. To address election system vulnerabilities, state election officials must develop a plan that focuses on five areas.
Full Article: 5 ways to address election system weaknesses — GCN.