The first machine was hacked in just 2 minutes!
When attendees at the Def Con computer security conference—perhaps the biggest gathering of computer hackers in the world—were challenged to hack into 30 voting machines, they went to work. They breached the first one in about two minutes, according to CNET and USA Today. Within 24 hours, attendees had broken into every single voting machine.
Worse yet, the participants weren’t given months to prepare to accomplish this hacking, the conference competition known as ““Voter Hacking Village” wasn’t announced beforehand, but rather right there at the conference.
Here’s the “kicker”: The conference organizers went on line and bought all 30 voting machines off of EBAY!
If that fact stunned you, here are a few other things that might surprise you:
- The machines with Advanced Voting Machines’ WINVote system, used in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Mississippi, all had the same password. The password (you might want to take a deep breath here) was “abcde.” The password could not be changed.
- One group hacked the WINVote system through Wi-Fi, while another needed only a USB keyboard and mouse. An intern at a security company called Synack demonstrated that changing votes was as easy as updating a Microsof Office document. “You just update the votes and change it back,” she said.
- One ExpressPoll voting machine, a voter tablet used as recently as April 2017 in a Georgia special election, had 600,000 voter registrations still on it, according to Wired. A hacker broke into that system in 45 minutes. The hacker was 16 years old.
Ever wonder why those exit poll numbers never really quite sat well with you? I too wondered why there were discrepancies with the reporting of some of them.
The tasks to hack into, and change results came in different forms and ways. Some of which were as simple as accessing the USB port in the back of the machines:
The (SYNTAC ) team plugged in a mouse and a keyboard — which didn’t require authentication — and got out of the voting software to standard Windows XP just by pressing “control-alt-delete.” The same thing you do to force close a program can be used to hack an election.
“It’s really just a matter of plugging your USB drive in for five seconds and the thing’s completely compromised at that point,” Synack co-founder Jay Kaplan said. “To the point where you can get remote access. It’s very simple.”
Synack’s team was able to access the voting machine from a mobile app by installing a remote desktop program on it.
In full disclosure, the SYNTAC team, a security platform based in San Francisco had the WinVote machine months ahead of Def Con, and had time to discover the serious flaws with the system.
When you’re in the machine, changing votes is as simple as updating an Office document.
It’s like an Excel file in which “you would just change the number and upload it back,” said Anne-Marie Hwang, an intern at Synack, who demonstrated the vote changes.
CTRL-ALT-DEL.…. It’s that simple!!!
On June 21, Jeanette Manfra, the acting deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity and communications at the Department of Homeland Security, told the Senate intelligence Committee that the agency had evidence that election-related systems in 21 states were targeted by cyber attackers, and in some cases, data was stolen. However, no votes were actually changed, she said.
OK. So we are expected to believe that interns and a 16-year-old could hack into voting systems, but Russian hackers—generally considered to be the best in the world—had a government-sponsored network of cybercriminals who attacked our voting machines, used bots to spread fake news across thousands of social media sites targeting low-information voters, solicited people within the Trump administration and breached the Democratic National Convention’s email system …
Don’t worry, our country’s election system according the the Trump administration “experts” is just fine, and no bad hacker is going to change our votes to get their desired results…
The voting machine puzzle
Back at the village, once a voting machine was hacked, it could be reset to its original state for the next person to try his or her hand at it. It was like messing up a Rubik’s Cube before passing it to the next person to solve.
On Friday afternoon, a hacker tapped into the Windows XP side of the AVS WinVote machine and installed Windows Media Player on it. He then rickrolled the room by playing Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” on the voting machine.
A hacker calling himself “Oyster” and his team tried to break into a Diebold voting machine on Friday after another team had successfully compromised it.
“I hope that we find a load of vulnerabilities in these just so we can open it up to the public to see how serious the problem is,” he said Diebold said it sold its voting machine business in September 2009, and declined to comment for the story.
So when they try to tell you that our system is safe, and that no hacking was done to alter our elections, both in the recent past, and moving forward to future ones, just raise a skeptical eyebrow and think: Bullshit. Trump and his seditious Republican Party knew all along the Russia could hack our system, and gave them the green light to do so…. And they did I.M.H.O.
Read the entire article at: CNET, www.cnet.com/…
And at “The Root”: www.theroot.com/…
Be safe out there.