Election day is near. With all the hacking going on lately, how hard would it be for hackers to hack the election? You know, side with Trump or Hillary? Kind of scary, isn’t it?
Of course, Homeland Security says that thought is preposterous since the system is too decentralized and too distributed throughout the states. So, what does that mean? That some states could get hacked, but it would be harder for the whole United States to get hacked at one shot? Well, that’s surely a faulty premise that the FBI and governmental agencies know are foolhardy as they have had their so-called impenetrable systems hacked more than once.
So, what kind of computer security do our voting machines have? The machines, according to election officials, go through rigorous pre-election testing every cycle and most do post-election audits. Further, the Department of Homeland Security provides at least 36 states with vulnerability scanning. That’s all good and well, but that’s what hackers also do. See how vulnerable the systems are to penetrate them. So, I’m not convinced that the hackers can’t go a step above here.
Has a hack happened before? Yes! In Illinois, hackers stole about 90,000 voters’ info. Surprisingly, no data was stolen for identity theft purposes or altered to disrupt the polls. There were are about two dozen states who reported hacking attempts into the registration databases. Keep in mind that hacking registration databases could, at the worst, delete voters’ names so that they don’t appear in the system, rendering their voting ability useless. Well, to the systems’ defense, there are voter registration cards at the polling stations so those can be pulled out, just causing delays.
One of the Texan election security officials has mentioned her defense of the system by saying, “Loose lips sink ships.” That’s her way of saying the rumor mill of hacking is worse than it may seem. On my end, I think a hacking threat is real, no so much on the state polling level. But, when the states gather all the votes together online to tally up the electoral and popular votes, well, guess what, you’re connected altogether which is the real threat. At that level, you are no longer too distributed and decentralized. You are connecting all the states to a centralized system. And your pre-election testing that may have passed at the state level is now out the window and now, the bigger issue at hand is a centralized hacking vulnerability when counting all the votes. So, definitely go out and vote, but keep in mind we may be facing the biggest hack of all time when the voting results total up.