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Recode, YouTube

Here’s How Hackers Can Screw Things Up on Election Day

Nov 7, 2016  •  Post A Comment

Hacking has already been a factor in the presidential campaign, and tomorrow’s nationwide elections face a number of risks related to the possibility of further hacking. A new report by Recode says that even though there’s little precedent for Election Day hacking, “interference by hackers tomorrow is totally possible.”

If nothing else, the report notes, the possibility of hacking “could sow fear and mayhem that lead to claims of rigging after Election Day.”

Voting machines represent a key vulnerability, according to the report.

“Many voting machines are running software that’s over a decade old, like Windows XP, which Microsoft hasn’t issued a security patch for since 2014,” Recode reports. “Others store ballots on memory cards, which could be used to insert viruses that can cause the machines to malfunction or alter votes.”

The report notes that the Sequoia AVC Edge voting machine, which is used in 12 states, has provided one well-known example of hacking. “It was hacked by a group of academics who installed malware that made the machine unable to do anything but play Pac-Man,” the report notes. You can see a video of that hack at the bottom of this story.

Additionally, voter registration databases have vulnerabilities, according to the report.

“Across the country, state voter registration data is synced with the internet; the integration has allowed people to register online or at the DMV,” Record reports. “But it also means those databases are vulnerable to hackers, who could break into a state’s system and remove voter names or change information that may cause delays and confusion at the polls.”

Here’s a video posted about six years ago of security researchers using the Sequoia AVC Edge touch-screen DRE voting machine to play Pac-Man …

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