National: Forget rigged polls: Internet voting is the real election threat | Reveal

The hackers settled in, arranged their laptops on a small table and got right to work. The clock was ticking. They began by carefully combing through the online voting system’s code, rapping at their keyboards and exchanging a pitter-patter of techie jargon. They toggled between screens. One displayed the unblemished interface that prospective voters would see. The other was black, threaded with lines of code: a sketch of their half-drafted attack. The first few hours were full of dead ends: a rejected ballot; an unexpected security fix, made in real time by election officials to thwart their efforts. Had they been found out? Suddenly, one of the four hackers paused midscroll. He’d found a seemingly trivial mistake, the code equivalent of an unlocked window. “Let’s steal things! Yes, let’s steal,” one of them said, tugging at his mop of dark hair. “Let’s get their ballot public key – GPG export or Base64 out to a file.” University of Michigan computer science professor Alex Halderman and his team of graduate students demonstrated in 2010 that it’s possible for a few hackers to quickly manipulate online voting systems. This was not a war room in Russia, where hackers allegedly have worked to infiltrate email servers to disrupt this year’s election. It was the office of Alex Halderman, a computer science professor at the University of Michigan. The hackers were graduate students, proving a point about Washington, D.C.’s fledgling voting system: that internet voting is vulnerable, a hunk of cybersecurity Swiss cheese. It was Sept. 29, 2010, just a few weeks before the city’s system was to be launched.

Full Article: Forget rigged polls: Internet voting is the real election threat | Reveal.

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