The impact of Russian hacking on the upcoming presidential election was a topic in Sunday night’s debate, raising the question: Is the U.S. election hackable? Experts say at the national level, no. But there could be individual incidents that undermine faith in the system. There’s almost no danger the U.S. presidential election could be affected by hackers. It’s simply too decentralized and for the most part too offline to be threatened, according to the head of the FBI and several security experts. “National elections are conducted at the local level by local officials on equipment that they obtained locally,” so there’s no single point of vulnerability to tampering here, said Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that advocates for elections accuracy. … The biggest question in the mind of voting security expert Joseph Kiniry is whether the 2016 election will be Y2K or Pearl Harbor.
The Y2K or millennium bug arose because programs represented the four-digit year with only the final two digits, which made 2000 indistinguishable from 1900. There were predictions of widespread computer failures and possibly catastrophic meltdowns of the world’s digital infrastructure.
Hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of hours of work dealt with the problem and on January 1, 2000 the world woke to nothing more than a hangover, to the relief of many. “I hope this is Y2K all over again,” said Kiniry, chief scientist at Free & Fair, a public-benefit corporation that works on creating technologies to keep elections free and fair.
But he and others worry that there’s a chance, though a small one, that it could be Pearl Harbor instead. “Imagine lines wrapping around the block at every polling place in American on election day because the databases were compromised. Or results far different from previous elections and then two weeks after everyone thinks they know the outcome of the election, we find evidence of hacking in the machines,” he said.
Full Article: Could the U.S. election be hacked?.