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The Cybersecurity Risks ­.s. Election Systems Face Heading Into the 2018 Elections

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A voter feeds a ballot into a scanner.

Cybersecurity experts warn of vulnerabilities in U.S. voting systems as we approach the 2018 midterm and 2020 presidential elections.

Credit: Reed Jackson/AP

In the wake of the "WannaCry" ransomware attack, cybersecurity experts are warning of U.S. voting systems' vulnerability to similar threats going into the 2018 midterm and 2020 presidential elections.

"Come 2020, we're going to be sitting ducks," says University of Michigan professor J. Alex Halderman.

He notes diversifying and decentralizing voting technology and disconnecting machines from the Internet will not prevent hacks, as the election management system that programmed ballot design can still be exploited. In addition, a disproportionate number of counties with aging voting systems do not back them up with a paper ballot and mandated, risk-limiting final-vote audits.

Experts also predict backdoor access to state tabulators will be available for purchase on the dark Web by the midterm elections.

"Twitter will continue to be the main distribution vector, and the most successful vector, for all of this stuff," says James Scott at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology.

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Abstracts Copyright © 2017 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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