National: How secure are electronic pollbooks and vote reporting tools? This new program aims to find out | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post
Voting machines get most of the attention when it comes to election security. But officials are now trying to tackle myriad ways adversaries could undermine U.S. elections aside from directly rigging ballots. A new pilot project run by a top cybersecurity nonprofit group and the Election Assistance Commission aims to look for bugs in the many other machines that hackers could exploit to throw an election into chaos, such as electronic poll books and systems for reporting unofficial election night results. Most states currently don’t have a formal process for ensuring they’re secure. “Most of our adversaries aren’t looking to affect the outcome of an election as much as they want to affect our confidence in that outcome,” Aaron Wilson, senior director of election security at the Center for Internet Security, which is running the project, told me. “All of these technologies could have a really big impact on voter confidence and in some cases on the vote itself.” A cyberattack that modified voter information in e-poll books, for example, could make it difficult or impossible for many people to cast ballots. An attack that changed election night results could create confusion about the winner and degrade faith in the real result.