Don’t think election fraud is a real problem? Well, not in the way the Republicans claim it is (people voting without government ID). The real potential problem is the insecurity of the computers that the government uses to count votes.
Monday, the FBI issued a warning that foreign hackers have gained access to election databases in two states, reported to be Arizona and Illinois. In the Illinois case, officials were forced to shut down the state’s voter registration system for 10 days in July. The hackers downloaded personal data on as many as 200,000 voters. In Arizona, malicious software was placed into its voter registration system.
Even worse, an IP address used in the attacks matches one used by Russian hackers, and the hacking methods used resemble methods used in other suspected Russian state-sponsored cyberattacks (including one carried out just a month ago).
Hacking a voter registration system would make it possible to throw an election, by removing the names of voters likely to vote for a single candidate, making it much more difficult for those people to actually vote.
And these are just the hacks that we know about.
I am a computer scientist, and so is the founder of Electoral Vote, and I completely agree with Electoral Vote’s warning:
The problem with hacking is that a foreign power could interfere with an election and there is a decent chance it would go undetected. The best way to protect against hacking is to avoid using computers in the voting process altogether, and to make sure the voter registration systems are not connected to the Internet in any way.
I believe that it is not only possible, but likely that people (including foreign governments) could throw a US election without detection. In fact, I would not be surprised if it has already been done on a small scale. Or worse, I would be surprised if it hasn’t already been done.
This is a serious threat to our country, our democracy, and our way of life. And little is being done to combat it.
Also published on Medium.