Security experts have warned for years that hackers could penetrate electronic voting systems, and now, leaked national security documents suggest a concerted effort to do just that in the 2016 US election. An intelligence report revealed this week showed a cyberattack that targeted more than 100 local election officials and software vendors, raising the prospect of an attempt, possibly led by Russia, to manipulate votes. … Hacking elections “has always been thought of as a theoretical possibility, but now we know it is a real threat,” said Susan Greenhalgh, a researcher with the Verified Voting Foundation, an election systems monitor. “We need to ensure our voting systems are resilient going into 2018 and 2020” elections, she added.
… Most US states now use optical scanners with paper ballots that can be audited, but a handful employ paperless systems with no paper trail to verify the count. “Internet elections are even more hackable, and I’m glad we’re not doing that,” Appel said.
Greenhalgh said that even though most jurisdictions have paper ballots which can be used for recounts, “the bad news is the vast majority of the country doesn’t do an audit to catch any errors in the vote counting software.”
Bruce Schneier, chief technology officer of IBM Resilient and a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, said the report shows the weaknesses of US election systems. “This (attack) feels more exploratory than operational, but this is just one piece. There are lots of vulnerabilities,” Schneier said. “Election officials are largely in denial. The next election will be no more secure than this election.”