While stealing votes using software may seem like just the perfect fodder for the political thriller show ‘Scandal’, the probability of that actually happening is quite substantial. It is a possibility, so much so that Jeh Johnson, Homeland Security Secretary said it was something to watch out for.

Speaking at a breakfast made possible by Christian Science Monitor in Washington DC, Johnson said, “After the recent attacks on the Democratic National Committee, DNC, and one other fundraising body set up by Democrats, the US should consider taking elections as critical infrastructure.

Although this term is only assigned to physical infrastructure, for example, water supply lines, Johnson felt it appropriate to do the same to the election since it is an important aspect of the US democracy.

What Will This Mean?

Hackers Elections

Some people aren’t convinced that assigning a new term to the electoral process will be any good as far as safeguarding the democratic process goes. Seclore CEO stated that the government should invest heavily in the computer system of the elections process instead of merely changing the labels. There should be an actual plan for improving security, he said.

The Department of Homeland Security did not give any statement about its plan for protecting the voting process.

Is There Any Possibility of a Hack?

More than 2000 miles west of DC, there is a huge meeting of cyber security professionals called Black Hat is underway in Vegas. There are researchers trying to figure out and demonstrate just how any system can be breached.

Among the system being researched are the new ATMs which will use the safer EMV chips that will be the norm for debit cards in the United States from 2017 and beyond. Others were cars like the Jeep. These also had new ways of having them hacked demonstrated.

In short, the experts are saying a hack into the electoral system is possible. As long as it has been built, it can be hacked.

How Would a Hack Unfold?

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There are few speculations as to how the hack might unfold. Dmitri Alperovitch, who is the CEO of CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity firm, gave some insight into the dangers facing the elections in the United States.

In June, CrowdStrike stated that the DNC email breach was the work of the Russian government through two agencies. However, that allegation has since been refuted after a hacker from Romania came forward and claimed responsibility. The said hacker was a lone attacker and was not part of any agency.

The way the hack would happen, according to Alperovitch, was at the point when the computers would send the results to the central stations at either state or national level since the computers use are just ordinary machines.

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