National News

National: Cyber experts were blocked in their push to patch voting systems in 2016 | McClatchy

August 30, 2017

They knew Russian operatives might try to tamper with the nation’s electronic voting systems. Many people inside the U.S. government and the Obama White House knew. In the summer of 2016, a cluster of volunteers on a federally supervised cybersecurity team crafting 2018 election guidelines felt compelled to do something sooner. Chatting online, they scrambled to draw up ways for state and local officials to patch the most obvious cyber vulnerabilities before Election Day 2016. Their five-page list of recommendations focused on two gaping holes in the U.S. election system.

National: Russian Election Hacking Efforts, Wider Than Previously Known, Draw Little Scrutiny | The New York Times

September 1, 2017

The calls started flooding in from hundreds of irate North Carolina voters just after 7 a.m. on Election Day last November. Dozens were told they were ineligible to vote and were turned away at the polls, even when they displayed current registration cards. Others were sent from one polling place to another, only to be rejected. Scores of voters were incorrectly told they had cast ballots days earlier. In one precinct, voting halted for two hours. Susan Greenhalgh, a troubleshooter at a nonpartisan election monitoring group, was alarmed.

National: For decade-old flaws in voting machines, no quick fix | The Parallax

August 18, 2017

Hackers rocked the voting machines this summer. On July 28, at the first DefCon “village” dedicated to exposing weaknesses in electronic voting machines—and the first coordinated, research-based assault on EVMs in the United States since 2007—it took visitors just 80 minutes to hack the first machine. The hackers proceeded to find and penetrate multiple security vulnerabilities in each of the village’s 20 machines, representing five voting machine models, calling into question how secure machine-assisted elections are. Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Rep.

National: Voting machines and election systems – a quick look | Associated Press

August 3, 2017

Digital voting machines are in the spotlight in Venezuela, where the head of Smartmatic, a maker of election systems used in the country’s tumultuous constituent-assembly election, said Wednesday that the official turnout figure had been “tampered with .” The company’s CEO said the count was off by at least 1 million votes — possibly in either direction. Tibisay Lucena, head of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council, dismissed that allegation as an “irresponsible declaration” that might lead to legal action.

National: DEFCON Hackers Found Many Holes in Voting Machines and Poll Systems | IEEE Spectrum

August 4, 2017

E-voting machines and voter registration systems used widely in the United States and other countries’ elections can readily be hacked—in some cases with less than two hours’ work. This conclusion emerged from a three-day-long hackathon at the Def Con security conference in Las Vegas last weekend. Some of those hacks could potentially leave no trace, undercutting the assurances of election officials and voting machine companies who claim that virtually unhackable election systems are in place.

National: States ramping up defenses against election hacks | The Hill

August 7, 2017

States across the nation are ramping up their digital defenses to prevent the hacking of election systems in 2018. The efforts come in the wake of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, which state officials say was a needed wake up call on cybersecurity threats to election systems and infrastructure. … Security experts are still divided over the extent of hacking risks to actual voting machines.

National: Voting Machine Hackers Have 5 Tips to Save the Next Election | WIRED

August 7, 2017

American Democracy depends on the sanctity of the vote. In the wake of the 2016 election, that inviolability is increasingly in question, but given that there are 66 weeks until midterm elections, and 14 weeks until local 2017 elections, there’s plenty of time to fix the poor state of voting technology, right? Wrong. To secure voting infrastructure in the US in time for even the next presidential election, government agencies must start now.

National: 15 States Use Easily Hackable Voting Machines | HuffPost

July 18, 2017

In 2006, Princeton computer science professor Edward Felten received an anonymous message offering him a Diebold AccuVote TS, one of the most widely used touch-screen voting machines at the time. Manufacturers like Diebold touted the touch-screens, known as direct-recording electronic (DRE) machines, as secure and more convenient than their paper-based predecessors. Computer experts were skeptical, since any computer can be vulnerable to viruses and malware, but it was hard to get ahold of a touch-screen voting machine to test it.

Editorials: Digital ballots, outdated machinery leave us exposed to a second Russian hack | Jason Smith/USA Today

July 21, 2017

The Russians aren’t coming. They came. And they launched a cyber strike on last fall’s elections for which the consequences remain an unknown. It’s a sexy, new Cold War replete with headlines featuring the president’s son and a curious meeting with Russians last summer. Sadly, what gets lost within these seductive media narratives are the comprehensive hazards of America’s voting components. It’s essential to note that there’s no confirmed proof any vote recording or ballot tallies were altered back in November.

National: Making U.S. Elections More Secure Wouldn’t Cost Much But No One Wants To Pay | NPR

June 28, 2017

What would it cost to protect the nation’s voting systems from attack? About $400 million would go a long way, say cybersecurity experts. It’s not a lot of money when it comes to national defense — the Pentagon spent more than that last year on military bands alone — but getting funds for election systems is always a struggle.

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