XFER Blog

XFER has been serving Michigan since 1994, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Are American Voting Systems Secure?

Are American Voting Systems Secure?

Election Day for the United States is November 6th, and regardless of your feelings regarding U.S. politics, the fact of the matter is that millions of Americans will soon go to the polls and cast their ballots. Unfortunately, what many of them don’t realize is how insecure their voting machines actually are, and how they are potentially putting their vote at risk.

What Most Polling Places Have
The majority of American polling places are operating with equipment that is fast approaching 15 years old. For reference, here’s a brief list of products and technologies that haven’t even been around for ten years yet:

  • Google Chrome
  • Airbnb
  • Spotify
  • Kickstarter
  • 4G
  • Mobile GPS
  • Instagram
  • The iPad

One cofounder of nonprofit group Open Source Election Technology, Greg Miller, puts it this way: "You have equipment that was introduced in 2005. In that time frame, how many times have you changed your mobile phone? And how many times have we replaced our laptops?” In short, the American voting system is reliant on, as Miller described it,”... obsolete hardware [and] software that relies on a diet of spare parts.”

The other cofounder of the nonprofit OSET, John Sebes, has demonstrated just how vulnerable these systems could potentially be to manipulation.

Most polling places collect all of the voting data onto a piece of portable media, like a CD or a USB drive, and bring it to a separate location to be tallied. Unfortunately, the machines used here are also usually outdated, as is the software used to process the results of the vote.

In a live demonstration on a national news network, Sebes used one of these machines to tally votes for two fictional candidates, Thorfer and Varda. In the example, Thorfer had won in a landslide with over 3,000 votes, the opposing Varda only receiving 100. However, with a very simple malware, Sebes was able to just switch the tallies, making “Varda” a fraudulent winner - and while access to these tallying computers is secured, some may not be secured as well as others are.

Furthermore, many polling places maintain a paper backup of the vote, just in case there needs to be a recount, but there are also many who have no paper backup at all. This includes some states known as “battleground” or “swing” states, where a much smaller number of votes can potentially have a significant impact on the final outcome.

How to Minimize the Issue
Unfortunately, the easiest solution to this problem is also impossible. One would think that there would be a singular set of standards for all polling places to abide by - but since the American Constitution specifies that each state is in control of its own electoral procedures, this consistency is effectively made impossible.

However, there are other ways that have been suggested to protect voting technology… some of which are decidedly lower-tech.

Temporarily Eliminate Online Voting
Some states have made online voting available, primarily to service members or other citizens who may be abroad, and many allow email ballots to be submitted. However, until security is improved for these methods, it has been suggested that they are suspended.

Utilize Physical Backups
Yes, we know. We generally say that all of your backups should be saved to the cloud, but in this case, that would be counterproductive. After all, a physically-generated paper backup that records each vote isn’t hackable (unlike a digital system) and could easily be used to cross-check any contested results.

Invest in Improved Voting Equipment
As one might imagine upon hearing that most American voting machines are over a decade old, updating the infrastructure that enables the prime responsibility of democracy is clearly not a priority for those dispersing the funds. It has been suggested that Congress get involved, funding research into improving these machines and replacing the problematic older machines, as was last done in 2002.

Americans view the right to vote as a basic human right, so it seems especially bad that their infrastructure can get in the way of their doing so. Don’t let your business technology do the same to your employees and their work. Reach out to XFER for a better solution by calling 734-927-6666 / 800-Get-XFER.

Planning for Failing Technology Keeps You in Busin...
Tip of the Week: 5 Windows Tricks
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Friday, October 19 2018
If you'd like to register, please fill in the username, password and name fields.

Captcha Image

Mobile? Grab this Article!

QR-Code dieser Seite

Tag Cloud

Security Technology Tip of the Week Privacy Microsoft Internet Cloud Saving Money Best Practices Backup Software Workplace Tips Managed Service Provider Business Computing Hackers Data Small Business Hardware Hosted Solutions Mobile Devices Productivity Google Mobile Office VoIP Email Gadgets Malware Quick Tips Network Security Efficiency IT Support Network Innovation Social Media IT Services Business Management Smartphones Server Miscellaneous Business Continuity Upgrade Business Virtualization Communication Windows Disaster Recovery Computer Managed IT Services Microsoft Office Communications Data Backup User Tips Users Passwords Mobile Device Management Browser Android Smartphone Marketing Save Money Ransomware WiFi Alert Data Recovery Holiday Mobile Computing Tech Term Outsourced IT Vendor Management Cybercrime Operating System Windows 10 Internet of Things Remote Monitoring Apple BDR BYOD Information Technology Cloud Computing Avoiding Downtime Bring Your Own Device Computers Chrome Current Events Router Telephone Systems Automation Going Green Best Practice History Big Data VPN Remote Computing Firewall IT Solutions The Internet of Things Artificial Intelligence Collaboration IT Consultant Health Hacking Cybersecurity Social Engineering Spam Employer-Employee Relationship Printer Facebook Trending Phone System Application Wireless Technology Managed IT Services Bandwidth Money Proactive IT Excel App Office Budget Lithium-ion Battery Fax Server Maintenance Windows 8 Networking How To Unified Threat Management Business Intelligence Applications Windows 10 Two-factor Authentication Mobility iPhone Mouse Business Managament Recovery Content Filtering Value Sports Data Security Apps Private Cloud Website Redundancy Law Enforcement Office 365 Gmail PowerPoint Antivirus Productivity Phishing Analytics User Error Customer Relationship Management Training Humor Hard Drives Outlook Data Protection Tutorials Managed IT Virus Save Time Tablet Administration Search Identity Theft Mobile Device Twitter Document Management Social Networking Office Tips Digital Payment Computer Repair Data Management Streaming Media Risk Management Compliance Tech Support Flexibility IT Management Encryption Scam Entertainment Saving Time Retail Settings Information Analysis Downtime Google Drive File Sharing Memory IT Support Network Congestion Inbound Marketing Conferencing Vulnerability Blockchain Connectivity Word Keyboard PDF Samsung Webinar Comparison Touchscreen Data Breach USB Windows 7 HaaS End of Support Robot Safety Wi-Fi Virtual Assistant Work/Life Balance Government Online Currency YouTube Meetings Recycling Workers Point of Sale Education Video Surveillance Telephone System Credit Cards DDoS Statistics Access Control Solid State Drive Data loss Programming Servers IBM Skype Piracy Black Market Smart Tech Fraud Leadership Spam Blocking Instant Messaging CES Administrator Wireless Physical Security Augmented Reality Intranet Environment Cleaning Password Machine Learning Running Cable IT Plan Wearable Technology Human Resources Public Cloud Computer Accessories SaaS Biometrics Content Management Infrastructure IT service Unsupported Software Data storage Managed Service Hacker Social Paperless Office Best Available OneNote Update Bluetooth eWaste Internet Exlporer People Data Storage Monitor Hosted Computing Proactive Science Telephony Unified Communications Students Online Shopping Cache Project Management Audit Google Docs Staff Devices GDPR Netflix Help Desk Entrepreneur Botnet Business Mangement Password Management Reputation Inventory Remote Monitoring and Maintenance Tablets Start Menu Theft Healthcare Root Cause Analysis Data Warehousing Specifications Supercomputer Hiring/Firing Regulations Evernote Internet exploMicrosoft Wireless Internet Warranty Computer Fan Windows Media Player Virtual Desktop Voice over Internet Protocol Digital Signature IoT IT Security HBO Thought Leadership E-Commerce Cost Management Travel Criminal NarrowBand NIST Print Server Customers Remote Support Line of Business Upgrades Analyitcs Mobile Cortana Webcam Uninterrupted Power Supply Electronic Health Records nternet Crowdfunding Millennials Knowledge Wireless Charging Advertising Wire FENG Customer Service Multi-Factor Security Strategy Consultant Frequently Asked Questions Distributed Denial of Service Files Content Filter Camera Company Culture Patch Management Chromecast Cryptocurrency Law Firm IT Macro PC Care Authentication MSP 360 Emails Professional Services Google Apps Screen Mirroring Co-managed IT Workforce Insurance Flash Fiber-Optic Scheduling Notifications Smart Office LinkedIn Electronic Medical Records Cameras Lifestyle 3D Licensing Tip of the week Amazon Colocation Storage Net Neutrality Windows 10s Software as a Service eBay Laptop Safe Mode Business Owner Telecommuting Alerts SharePoint Nanotechnology Remote Worker Windows 8.1 Update Virtual Reality Tools Shadow IT HVAC Charger Cast WIndows 7 Practices Display HIPAA Sync Cables Hybrid Cloud Hiring/Firing Printer Server Shortcut User Windows Server 2008 Amazon Web Services IaaS Computing Infrastructure Addiction Virtual Private Network Worker Commute Text Messaging Touchpad Accountants Business Technology Debate Domains Software Tips Remote Work Work Station Relocation Wiring Hosted Solution Bloatware Password Manager Gaming Console Legal Enterprise Content Management Computer Care Managing Stress Employer Employee Relationship CrashOverride Smart Technology Books Loyalty Experience Thank You Content Two Factor Authentication Battery Emergency Video Games Music Congratulations Worker Regulation Audiobook Scalability Assessment Rootkit Politics Printers Transportation How to Television Troubleshooting Webinar Techology Benefits Automobile Public Computer IT solutions

Sign up for our Newsletter!

  • Company Name *
  • First Name *
  • Last Name *
      • Company Name *
      • Number of Participants *
      • First Name *
      • Last Name *
      • Phone *
      • Yes, subscribe me to: