CNN: Voting Machines Easily Get Hacked (2010)

2 years ago

With the advent of computerized voting, some are concerned that e-voting may be susceptible to tampering. University of Michigan Prof. J. Alex Halderman, along with colleagues at Princeton University, decided to put that question to the test.

Getting into the machines was as easy as picking a cheap lock.

Princeton researcher Ariel Feldman, showed us one of the hacked machines: "We were flipping votes from one candidate to another to keep the total number of votes the same." And, just to nail the point home about how simple it is to alter the computer's memory card, they replaced the election software with the classic video game, Pac-Man.

"We have found that we can make a voting machine virus that can jump from machine to machine and change the election outcome across a whole state," says Halderman. "This is very, very scary and it's a realistic threat today."

D.C. officials were quick to suspend their internet voting system until they could figure out why it was so easy for it to be hacked. So easy, in fact, that during the test Halderman found hackers from China and Iran trying to break in. Before they could, Halderman ordered his students to change passwords before the foreigners could figure things out.

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