Basic cyberattacks could tamper with electronically submitted ballots, leaving no trace behind, according to research from computer science firm Galois. On the heels of election watchdog groups criticizing Alaska’s use of ballots submitted online, Galois demonstrated that electronic ballots could be modified through simply hacking into home routers, which often have minimal security measures. “An off-the-shelf home Internet router can be easily modified to silently alter election ballots,” said the researchers, Daniel Zimmerman and Joseph Kiniry. A few states now allow voters to receive and return a ballot electronically. Election officials argue it is a way to increase voter participation, while technologists insist heightened turnout isn’t worth the high risk of fraud.
Alaska’s tight gubernatorial and Senate races have drawn the most attention to the issue. With only a few thousand votes separating the candidates in each race, government accountability groups argue the 1,500 electronically submitted votes could cast doubt on the ultimate results.
In Alaska, voters can choose to access a PDF ballot via a secure Web portal after authenticating their identity. After filling out the ballot, they can submit it to election officials through that portal. It’s during that transmission — voter to election official — that the ballot is highly vulnerable, the researchers said.
Full Article: Simple hack could alter Internet ballots | TheHill.