National: What’s the Likelihood That a National U.S. Election Could Be Hacked? | Popular Mechanics

The electronic voting machine, now used to some degree in all 50 states, is the functional equivalent of an unoccupied Lamborghini left running at midnight with vanity plates that say STEALME. This summer, hobbyist hackers with no specialized expertise who attended a convention called Defcon were able to compromise four different voting machines, one in less than 30 minutes. “Unfortunately, they were much easier than, say, a home router or mobile device,” says Defcon organizer Jeff Moss. … Online voting is hardly a fix. “There are so many problems and insecurities in internet voting, it’s not something we should even begin to consider in the next ten years,” says Princeton University professor of computer science Andrew Appel.

Consider that in one infamous test of an online absentee voting system, a team from the University of Michigan was able to get the cartoon robot Bender from Futurama elected to the Washington, D.C., school board, which, to be fair, might have been an improvement.

Every expert we interviewed stressed that electronic vote-tallying systems need a low-tech backup—such as a paper ballot that’s optically scanned by the voting machine. While a machine counts the votes, the paper ballots are retained and may be used to audit the results. “Physical fail-safes are what you want,” says J. Alex Halderman, director of the Center for Computer Security and Society at the University of Michigan (and the man who led the test assault on D.C.’s online ballot system). “You want the brakes in your car to work even if the computer goes haywire. It’s common sense. When you can avoid having to completely trust computer systems to behave correctly, you should.”

Full Article: Election Hacking – Could Russia Hack an Entire Election?.

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