Hacking and national security experts say that U.S. voting machines are vulnerable and could allow Russia to access to them, according to a new report out of DEFCON, one of the world’s longest-running hacker conferences. The report concludes that it is incredibly easy to hack U.S. voting machines, and the system is not nearly as safe as it’s portrayed by election officials because many voting machines contain foreign-manufactured internal parts that may be susceptible to tampering. Hackers also do not need advanced knowledge of voting machines to hack them — it would take only a few minutes or hours for someone with the technical knowledge to infiltrate the machines. At the Voting Village conference in July, DEFCON set up a hacking village to draw attention to cyber vulnerabilities in U.S. election infrastructure. It invited participants to hack 25 pieces of election equipment including voting machines and electronic poll books, and produced a report afterwards.
The report, which was released Tuesday at an Atlantic Council event, showcased DEFCON’s findings. At the Voting Village convention, one IT professor broke into a voting machine within an hour and a half. A Danish democracy-tech researcher remotely hacked the AVS WinVote system within minutes.
… Currently five states still use entirely paperless systems with no paper backup: Delaware, Georga, Louisiana, New Jersey and South Carolina. These systems are the most insecure because the lack of a paper trail makes an audit afterwards impossible.
… Just four manufacturers create most of the voting machines on the market. They were not interested in participating in DEFCON to learn how to make their machines safer; they insist they are safe enough already.