Imagine if casting a vote for the next president of the United States were as easy as waking up and turning on your PC. Cyber security experts say online voting may not be that far off in the U.S. and could breathe new life into the American electoral process. Perhaps because Americans are already comfortable using the Internet to trade stocks, manage their finances and make online purchases, calls to modernize the voting system and potentially bring it online have started to grow louder. Barriers exist today, but voting for the leader of the free world via smartphone, laptop or tablet could be a reality within the next few presidential election cycles. … The biggest threats are malware on personal devices that could, unbeknownst to the voter, alter their vote or track who they voted for, as well as hostile people or groups who could hack into the system for malicious purposes and disrupt the voting process. Another major challenge is ensuring that a vote is anonymous while at the same time re-countable for auditing purposes. “My concern is the potential for some rogue nation to attack our voting if it moves online, and not being prepared,” Snell said.
The fear that a hacker could infiltrate and interrupt a U.S. election is very real, especially when major multinational corporations still have trouble fending off cyber attacks despite millions of dollars invested in security. This reality has been on full display in recent cyber attacks on companies like Google (GOOG) and ones in the past two weeks that impacted the websites of major banks like Bank of America (BAC) J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) and HSBC (HBC).
“Our elections are run locally by county-level offices,” said Pamela Smith, President of Verified Voting. “The idea they could do this securely when a company the size of Google can’t — with all the millions they have at their disposal — it’s just not very securable.”