Threat Watch

Election Security Gets a Sigh of Relief at Def Con

Since the 2016 election, there have been countless allegations made that election hacking has occurred from foreign State Actors, including claims of thousands of registered voters having their information compromised by Russia. If the proper defense tactics are put into place, it is extremely difficult for an attack, such as the one in Illinois to occur, and that was proven this weekend at DefCon. Voting Village representatives retrieved a public list of voters from the state of Ohio and implemented it into a mock county computer network. The network was then buffed up with multiple layers of firewalls put into place by Bash Kazi, who operates KIG, a cyber-security firm specializing in simulation training.  Kazi said, “The idea is to bring attention to the need to train local officials in the vulnerabilities that exist and the types of scenarios they’ll be encountering.” Although the system that was created for the demonstration was more intricate than most small counties’, it is a wakeup call as to how county officials in this field should mitigate these types of cyber issues. All weekend, hackers of every type made their attempts to crack the mock systems and firewalls and depending on the particular mock system that was in use, some were succeeded.  The Hacking village at DefCon was set up to demonstrate how vulnerable systems could be affected easier than others, and to show that voting machines and systems varied by state and by county. DefCon purposely made some of the mock systems easier to break and also made some harder, in an attempt to prove that more security needs to be in place to better protect voters. This Village was used as an example to show people, that if more security precautions were in place, like the ones they used with the Ohio database, then the information would have less of a chance of being compromised.