National: DEFCON hopes voting machine hacking can secure systems | TechTarget

A new report pushes recommendations based on the research done into voting machine hacking at DEFCON 25, including basic cybersecurity guidelines, collaboration with local officials and an offer of free voting machine penetration testing. It took less than an hour for hackers to break into the first voting machine at the DEFCON conference in July. This week, DEFCON organizers released a new report that details the results from the Voting Village and the steps needed to ensure election security in the future. Douglas Lute, former U.S. ambassador to NATO and retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, wrote in the report that “last year’s attack on America’s voting process is as serious a threat to our democracy as any I have ever seen in the last 40+ years – potentially more serious than any physical attack on our Nation. Loss of life and damage to property are tragic, but we are resilient and can recover. Losing confidence in the security of our voting process — the fundamental link between the American people and our government — could be much more damaging,” Lute wrote. “In short, this is a serious national security issue that strikes at the core of our democracy.”

… The DEFCON voting machine hacking report noted a number of misconceptions surrounding the security of elections, but Harri Hursti, founding partner at Nordic Innovations Lab, said one of the biggest issues was the idea that there had “never been a documented incident where votes have been changed during a real election.”

“These machines don’t have the capability of providing you forensic evidence to see that. They cannot prove they are honest; they cannot prove they were not hacked. They simply don’t have the fundamental, basic capabilities of providing you that data,” Hursti said in the press conference. “The only way you can see if the machine was hacked is if the attacker wanted to be found. That’s the sad truth. It can be done without leaving a trace.”

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