National

Georgia voter registration system crisis touches Connecticut

Georgia Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, just launched an investigation of the Democratic Party of Georgia, after their consultant pointed out a serious vulnerability in Georgia’s voter registration system/database: Kemp’s Aggressive Gambit to Distract From Election Security Crisis

This touches Connecticut because the vendor for Georgia’s system, PCC, is located in Bloomfield Connecticut and supplies Connecticut’s voter registration and election night reporting systems. It is not certain that the reports so far accurately portray PCC’s role in Georgia and if any of the same vulnerabilities apply to the Connecticut’s system. From our understanding Connecticut has paid a lot of attention to the security of our voter registration system and that PCC supplies the software by is not involved in its operation. We have reached out to the Secretary of the State’s Office suggesting that they address the relevance of the Georgia report to Connecticut.

Here’s How Russia May Have Already Hacked the 2018 Midterm Elections

New article from Newsweek: Here’s How Russia May Have Already Hacked the 2018 Midterm Elections  <read>

They are talking about PA, but the same could apply to Connecticut:

Even though Bucks County’s Shouptronics aren’t wired, hackers have several ways of compromising them. The most direct and effective way would be to replace a computer chip in the machine that holds instructions on what to do when voters press the buttons with one that holds instructions written by hackers.

Do Connecticut’s Tamper-“Evident” Seals Protect Our Ballots?

Experts and amateurs have long claimed that so called, tamper-evident seals are easy to defeat.

Email and Internet Voting: The Overlooked Threat to Election Security

New report Email and Internet Voting: The Overlooked Threat to Election Security

This report reviews the research that has been conducted by the federal government concluding that secure online voting is not yet feasible…

States that permit online return of voted ballots should suspend the practice.

The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies

Often, as a computer scientist, I forget that what a very small minority know that becomes almost intuitive, is far from obvious to others approaching magic, a deluded conspiracy, or amateur science fiction.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. – Arthur C. Clarke
This article from Bloomberg News is a case in point.

The Crisis in Election Security by Kim Zetter

The feature in the NYTmes Magazine by Kim Zetter:  The Crisis of Election Security – As the midterms approach, America’s electronic voting systems are more vulnerable than ever. Why isn’t anyone trying to fix them? <read>  The article is a sad summary of where are and how we got here.

Two years later, as the 2018 elections approach, the American intelligence community is issuing increasingly dire warnings about potential interference from Russia and other countries, but the voting infrastructure remains largely unchanged…How did our election system get so vulnerable, and why haven’t officials tried harder to fix it? The answer, ultimately, comes down to politics and money: The voting machines are made by well-connected private companies that wield immense control over their proprietary software, often fighting vigorously in court to prevent anyone from examining it when things go awry.

 

 

Philosopher: Some Conspiracy Theories are all too real

Yesterday’s conspiracy theories often become today’s incontrovertible facts…

[Conspiracy Theory is] a function similar to that served by the term “heresy” in medieval Europe…One bad effect of these terms is they contribute to a political environment in which it’s easier for conspiracy to thrive at the expense of openness. Another bad effect is their use is an injustice to the people who are characterised as conspiracy theorists…

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the Myth of “Secure” Blockchain Voting

From David Jefferson at Verified Voting: Verified Voting Blog: The Myth of “Secure” Blockchain Voting <read>

Internet voting has been studied by computer security researchers for over twenty years. Cyber security experts universally agree that no technology, including blockchains, can adequately secure an online public election. Elections have unique security and privacy requirements fundamentally different from and much more stringent than those in other applications, such as e-commerce. They are uniquely vulnerable because anyone on Earth can attack them, and a successful cyberattack might go completely undetected, resulting in the wrong people elected with no evidence that anything was amiss….

Election security is a matter of national security. Blockchains, despite all the hype surrounding them, offer no defense against any of these well-known threats to which all online elections are vulnerable.

Israeli Firm Proves Our Point: Fax is as risky as Online Voting

As we have been saying for years, Online/Internet voting risks include email and fax voting.
<Since 2008>

Story today in the Washington Post:
Report: Hackers Target Fax Machines
Phone Line Connected To Computer Network Can Offer Access

What we don’t understand seems all but impossible and fictional

Like you I don’t know a lot about brain surgery, flying a jet, or hacking a cell-phone. Off-hand I often think of all of those somewhere on a spectrum from taking years to learn, to almost impossible, fictional or magical.  Yet the evidence is different. People learn brain surgery, perform it regularly and well. Just this week we saw a mechanic take-off and fly a jumbo jet, apparently with only some video game experience. Which brings me to my newest proverb:

What we don’t understand seems all but impossible and fictional.

But that is not true. Case in point, DEFCON.