For years conspiracy theorists have been warning about the potential dangers or electronic voting, only to have their words fall on deaf ears. As a society we have eagerly embraced technology and watched it creep into every aspect of our lives, including our voting machines. Electronic voting is easy and allows for rapid accounting of votes cast in local, state and national elections…no more waiting overnight for results to be tabulated in remote areas. But as some have warned, it has opened the opportunity for fraud to enter the election process. Election officials have poo-pooed the warnings and have long claimed that the voter systems are safe and tamper proof.
However as we have seen in recent years, any system that has a chip and not air gapped is susceptible to being attacked, be it a big box store, a financial institution or even the White House. Now, the FBI has sent an alert to election officials that those with malicious intent have the capability to breach election systems. Andy Greenberg, writing for wired.com notes “On Monday, an FBI alert surfaced warning state boards of election to take precautions against hackers after two election board websites were breached in recent months”. The two states in question, Arizona and Illinois, had their systems breached possibly using SQL Injection that allowed intruders access to voter information.
These particular breaches may not be serious, but they could, as some people have forecast, be a warning bell of catastrophic events to follow should the voting systems be breached and election results altered or the process disrupted. Election officials should take this FBI warning very seriously and carefully ensure their systems are well protected.
Greenberg, A. (2016). Hack brief: As FBI warns election sites got hacked, all eyes are on Russia. Retrieved from the Internet at https://www.wired.com/?p=2079828