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Election System Susceptible to Rigging Despite Red Flags


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An electronic voting machine.

Ppaperless digital voting machines, used by roughly 1 in 5 U.S. voters in November, are vulnerable to hacking.

Credit: Mary Altaffer/AP

The U.S. election system is fraught with vulnerabilities, including antiquated electronic voting machines that can be hacked without leaving a paper trail. Voting fraud concerns raised by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein are warranted, according to Stein and many computer experts, given charges that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

Researchers want the U.S. to fully transition to computer-scanned paper ballots, while those seeking a recount want forensic analysis of sampling of the digital voting machines.

Despite assurances from election officials that rigging a presidential election is close to impossible, scientists say it is within the realm of possibility. Rice University's Dan Wallach suggests a team of professional hackers could surgically strike select counties in a few battleground states where "a small nudge might be decisive."

One strategy outlined by University of Michigan scientist J. Alex Halderman would involve attackers probing election offices in advance to find exploitable areas, and injecting malware into machines in specific counties that would shift a small portion of the vote. They would then delete any digital clues to the hack after changing the election counts.

The push for voting upgrades is sluggish due to the private sector's refusal to fund them because the market is tiny, while state and federal funding has dried up.

From Associated Press
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Abstracts Copyright © 2016 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


 

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