DEFCON Kids Hack Voting Devices; Election Officials Dismiss ‘Pseudo Environment’ Test

A hacking session at the DEFCON 26 event Thursday in Las Vegas resulted in electronic voting machines being compromised, with children able to amend voter details in just a few minutes –but the exercise has been dismissed as “unrealistic” by the National Association of Secretaries of State.

The Voting Machine Hacking Village invited participants to test the vulnerability of more than 30 electronic devices used in the voting process. Children took part, and with modest coaching were able to enter sites and change entries. An 11-year-old girl broke into one site in just 10 minutes.

However, the NASS told Route Fifty the event was a “pseudo environment” that failed to replicate the physical and cyber protections that are additionally in place when real-world elections are conducted across the country. And they insisted that many of the voting machines hacked are no longer in use.

However, critics suggest officials may be in denial of problems, according to Route Fifty, reporting that they refuse to give legitimate system testers access to check on vulnerabilities, with evidence at least one secretary of state has dismissed issues pointed out to them. NASS said it is working with organizations including DHS and the National Guard on safeguarding election systems.

Read more at Route Fifty

Chris Bown is a regular contributor to Homeland Security Today covering the latest think tank, journal, and news related to terrorism and security. He originally trained as a journalist on real estate and architecture news publications, and for many years edited the publications of international real estate event MIPIM. He is a regular contributor to London financial daily newspaper City AM, and curates daily updates at investment newsletter Hotel Analyst.

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