July 2015

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Top Six Ways Hackers Could (have) Disrupt(ed) an Election

The election system is particularly vulnerable because it involves a combination of state, local, and federal government agencies with their own systems, software, hardware, and security protocols. Often, government departments are running old “legacy” computer systems that are extremely vulnerable to malware and hacking; and even if they have new systems, these are often put into place without a comprehensive security audit and performance review.

Who exactly is in charge of securing these overlapping networks isn’t always clear in government either.

Wisconsin’s One-Up Connecticut moment?

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wants to replace their election watch dog agency, apparently because it investigated his campaign.

Yet Wisconsin’s Governor may not be that far ahead of Connecticut’s.  Like Wisconsin our watch dog agencies were joined and weakened several years ago by Governor Malloy to “cut costs”.  How is that going for us?  It seems that the Governor is not out to do away with them, yet there has been some questionable attacks, just as the watchdog is working on investigating the Governor’s last campaign,

Statistician battles government to determine whether vote count is flawed

“Paper receipts are the obvious answer,Florida gave recounts a bad name. But there is something much worse than a recount: the utter inability to recount votes, and reconstruct voters’ true intent, in light of a serious computer error.”

Actually slightly worse and even more suspicious might be having paper ballots and being barred from using them to verify elections.

Consensus Reached on Recommendations Toward the Future of Internet Voting

Consensus Reached on Recommendations Toward the Future of Internet Voting

USVoteFoundationThe U.S. Vote Foundation has released a report on the feasibility and requirements for Internet voting. This is the result of about eighteen months of work by computer scientists, security experts, and election officials.  The goal was to answer definitively once and for all if Internet voting was feasible today or in the future.

The short version is the Internet voting is not ready for prime time, not ready for democracy. Yet, it is possible in the future that a system may be developed which could provide safe Internet voting.  The paper lays out the requirements and testing criteria for such a system.

(Internet voting includes online voting, email voting, and fax voting).

Top security official, spouts NonScience Nonsense

Comey’s problem is the nearly universal agreement among cryptographers, technologists and security experts that there is no way to give the government access to encrypted communications without poking an exploitable hole that would put confidential data, as well as entities like banks and power grids, at risk.

“Security online today, is not up to the task of online voting today.”

My friend, Duncan Buell, sent along a .pdf with a blog post of his, Computer Security and the Risks of Online Voting, along with another blog post about drones Meet A.I. Joe