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Hacking Into Voting Machines Is So Easy, My Grandma Can Do It!

August 07, 2017 Security


Hacking into Voting Machines Is So Easy, My Grandma Can Do It!

Grandma hacking skills

Apparently hacking into U.S. voting machines has proven to be such a piece of cake, that even my ninety-year old grandmother could probably do it!   Am I shocked by this? Not a bit.   Disappointed, for certain!  Voting is at the foundation of every democracy, and something of this magnitude should not be so easy to tamper with.

Thank heaven for DEF CON, one of the world's largest hacker conventions, held annually in Las Vegas.  Def Con invites the worlds’ best hackers to test the security of voting machines and as a result, thanks to shoddy technology the hackers found breaking into the machines to be quite effortless.

Convention attendees tested lock picking, encryption, social engineering and, for the first time, voter machine hacking.   More than 30 voting machines were provided, in hopes of finding all the flaws in our democracy’s voting technology.  The machines had been used in previous election cycles, but have since been decommissioned after tests had proven security flaws.   In just 35 minutes, one hacker was able to plug in a flash drive with malware gaining access to the machine.

After using a Windows XP exploit from 2003, one hacker got remote access on a voting machine that hadn’t been patched, meaning he had access to change the votes from anywhere.

While many people zeroed in on some of the other vulnerabilities, one genius hacker worked on two open USB ports on the back of the machine and discovered a host of serious flaws with the system.  After plugging in a mouse and a keyboard, neither one requiring authentication, he was able to exit the voting software and access standard Windows XP just by pressing control-alt-delete.  In a nutshell, the same thing you do to force close a program can also help to tamper with 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."

Once you're out of the voting program on the machine, it's just like any old Windows XP computer.  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.

Unfortunately security flaws exist in some of the most powerful systems we rely on today.  It’s reassuring to know that we have some of the worlds best known hackers on our side to help find and correct those flaws.  At Connections for Business, we're not hackers but we are really great at finding flaws and security holes that exist in some businesses IT infrastructures.  If you’re wondering if there are holes in your businesses network, then click here and contact us for your Free Network Assessment.   There’s no obligation, you have only to gain! You can also contact us by phone!  Call 954-920-9604


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