The hanging chad from the 2000 Presidential election could be making a comeback—in virtual form. At the Black Hat USA 2016 hacking conference in Las Vegas that ended on Aug. 4, security firm Tripwire surveyed more than 220 information security professionals to determine whether they believed hackers could influence the outcome of the Presidential election. Nearly two-thirds of those respondents—63%, to be exact—answered with a simple “yes.” Nearly 20% of respondents, however, believe any state-sponsored attacks that could affect this year’s elections shouldn’t be considered acts of cyber war.
Regardless, Tripwire’s senior director of security research and development Lamar Bailey said that hackers will inevitably attack the U.S. on election day, but they likely won’t be able to coordinate massive hacks. Instead, the security firm argues, hackers might try to target swing states and even counties within those states that might be easier targets to create disruption on election day.
“This is not something that can be done in a few days or weeks, if an organization is going to be successful in this style of attack they must be well funded and have started work months ago,” Bailey said. “It is much more likely that many small attacks will happen in an attempt to discredit the results from various states or counties within states. It could be like the 2000 election but with a virtual hanging chad.”