Today in Michigan, Ohio, Kansas, Washington, and Missouri, voters head to the polls to vote in primaries. But how safe are state websites with voter information? If you ask the organizers of the kids’ program at DEFCON, the answer is, so unsafe that a kid could probably figure out how to hack it. DEFCON, a top tier cybersecurity conference, has a program for kids called “r00tz,” and this year, part of the agenda is to have them hack replicas of state elections websites. The goal of the event is to both teach the participants basics of hacking, but also scare states into taking action to safeguard web security.
Although the kids, ages 8 to 16, won’t be hacking actual state websites, the replicas that will be used mimic many of the vulnerabilities that have allowed hackers to successfully gain access to websites across the country. Nico Sell, the organizer of the children’s program, explained “we’re at a place where tampering with elections could be child’s play.”
For those who follow America’s cybersecurity issues, the vulnerabilities of our election system are no surprise, but most states haven’t done much to update technology, and the federal government has only recently begun to take steps to help out states with dated and unsecured technology.