“Your vote counts” is a snappy slogan just short enough to fit on a lapel button, but snappy is not the same as “secure.” As the 2016 campaign unfolds, there’s renewed interest in enabling voters to vote over the Internet. The notion that choosing a president could be as easy as using a smartphone to order a pizza is tempting to some, but until cybersecurity wizards prove that a vote cast is a vote counted, Internet balloting is unreliably risky. Internet voting has its passionate advocates. One California pundit argues that since his bills, banking, shopping, even the data on his children’s homework is on the Internet, why shouldn’t his voting be there, too. It’s not safe to vote where he shops? Exactly, says David Jefferson, a computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who was the chairman of the technology committee of the California Internet Task Force.
“It is not actually ‘safe’ to conduct e-commerce transactions online,” he says. “It is in fact very risky, and more so every day. Essentially all those risks apply equally to online voting transactions.” Millions of Americans, including the 21 million federal workers whose personal information was swiped from “secure” servers in the Office of Personnel Management, and the 110 million shoppers who fell prey to hack attacks on the retailer Target, might agree.
Chinese and Russian hackers have breached the top-quality defenses that protect Pentagon and White House networks, so it’s not difficult to imagine them making similar mischief with state election board tabulations on election night. “Such attacks could even be launched by an enemy agency beyond the reach of U.S. law and could cause significant voter disenfranchisement, privacy violations, vote buying and selling, and vote switching,” says Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation. “The biggest danger, however, is that such attacks could be completely undetected.”
Full Article: EDITORIAL: Internet balloting too risky – Washington Times.