15 August, 2018

What I learned at DEFCON about voting machine hacks

Hackers, corporate IT professionals, and three letter government agencies all converge on Las Vegas every summer to absorb cutting edge hacking research at DEFCON. The Vote Hacking Village with a focus on election security and voting machines was a big hit this year. The village is co-organized by Jake Braun, the CEO of Cambridge Global Advisors and former Director of White House and Public Liaison for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). My favorite exhibit featured J. Alex Halderman, Professor of Computer Science & Engineering, University of Michigan and Verified Voting Technology Fellow who explained how electronic voting machines can be hacked.
Voting machines are programmed with small memory cards which can be hacked to infect voting machines. "If a hacker penetrated the state’s computer servers, a malicious program could be copied to memory cards used for thousands of voting machines. No one would ever know the results had been changed if the hacker wrote the program to erase itself after the election."
Voters are authenticated and given access cards to cast their votes. Voters insert the card in the voting machine to cast their vote. The cards are meant to be used once and then re-initialize. But, hackers can re-program these cards so that they can be used many times. A person in the privacy of a voting booth could cast many votes with a single hacked card.
Election integrity resources Verified Voting - a non-governmental organization working on accuracy, integrity and verifiability of elections. It believes that the integrity and strength of a democracy relies on citizen’s trust that each vote be counted as cast. OSET Institute - increases election integrity while lowering costs and easing participation. It develops innovative (open source) election software to increase security, and transparency.
Co-Founder, DemLabs
case study image
14 May’ 2024

NOT ON OUR WATCH: People powered news

‘A Lie Is Halfway Round the World Before the Truth Has Got Its Boots On’ How do you get the facts when much of the media...

case study image
7 May’ 2024

Reach more people with Gamification: Could you be a HANDMAID ENFORCER?

Don't just preach to the choir. Use gamification to reach and engage more people. How do you get your message to people who aren't necessarily interested...

case study image
23 Apr’ 2024

Canvass better: Help people get their unclaimed benefits

Don't show up at someone's door empty handed... that goes for canvassers too! Take something that the person you're meeting will appreciate - like finding out...

case study image
9 Apr’ 2024

How to tell your friends about the horrors of Project 2025

It's crucial to talk to everyone we know about Project 2025. They may roll their eyes and say, “That can’t happen in America.” But so much...

case study image
4 Apr’ 2024

Are you taking all the benefits you’re entitled to?

103 million Americans leave $80 billion in benefits unclaimed every year. These are benefits that your tax dollars pay for! Things like affordable healthcare. Help with...

case study image
1 Apr’ 2024

No Border Wall Coalition organizes grassroots resistance with English y Español bots

The No Border Wall Laredo Coalition organizes local residents, landowners, faith leaders, veterans and families to stop the border wall. The Border Wall project calls for...