Jones on Election Security (Cont'd)

Friday, March 30, 2018 - 8:43am

Want to hack a voting machine? | Why Election Security Matters | Meet the new high-tech solution to Russian election hacking: paper ballots

 

Want to hack a voting machine? Hack the voting machine vendor first  (March 30, 2018 - CSO)

How password reuse and third-party breaches leave voting machine vendors vulnerable to attack.

"If I were an attacker," Douglas W. Jones, a professor of computer science at the University of Iowa and an expert on voting machine security, said, "I'd immediately do my best to insinuate myself into their corporate machinery and ferret out the backdoors that they have a record of in their filesystems. I suspect, given the current state of affairs, I could nose around pretty effectively."

"The threat is real," he adds, "and should be taken very seriously."

"By and large, people don't understand the workings of big data, the idea that something that's lost in one data breach can be correlated with public information and information from other completely unrelated sources to find new things that ought never to be known."

Why Election Security Matters (March 30, 2018 - Institutional Investor)

Cyberattacks on U.S. voting systems are a threat to democracy. They are also a test of the country's will and ability to solve a big 21st-century problem.

"According to Douglas W. Jones, a University of Iowa professor who is one of a cadre of computer scientists raising alarms in recent years about election-system vulnerabilities, the responsibility is spread among some 5,000, mostly county-level, offices. 

The decentralization could be a security advantage; adversaries prefer big targets with high returns on their investment. Congressional and Justice Department investigations of alleged Russian meddling in U.S. politics have centered on so-called influence operations, often exploiting social media. Last year, in a retrospective on the 2016 election, Jones said that influence operations "could change more votes at a lower cost than any alternative" including attempts to alter vote counts."

Meet the new high-tech solution to Russian election hacking: paper ballots. (April 3, 2018 - Vox)

Congress wants states to switch to paper ballots to protect against hacking.

"States have fought against federal involvement since the 1950s, when Southern states South Carolina and Georgia fought federal government interference in their efforts to suppress minority voting.

Doug Jones, a voting expert and professor of computer science at the University of Iowa, told me the resistance to federal involvement has never changed.

“Every time the federal government steps in, it’s [to reduce] the authority and add to the rules that the state election directors have,” he said. “State election directors don’t like having rules. They like to be king.”

 

Click here for "developing" media coverage of Professor Jones and voting security.