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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Kids HACK ‘Election Results’
An 11-year-old boy managed to hack into a replica of the Florida state election website and change voting results in under 10 minutes — and an 11-year-old girl did it in about 15, according to reports.
“These websites are so easy to hack we couldn’t give them to adult hackers,” Jake Braun, a former White House liaison for the Department of Homeland Security, told ABC News.
“They’d be laughed off the stage,” he said.
The children had been participating in the “Voting Machine Hacking Village” event at DEFCON, which is considered one of the world’s largest cybersecurity conferences.
“These are very accurate replicas of all of the sites,” said Nico Sell, co-founder of the non-profit youth hacking group r00tz Asylum.
“These things should not be easy enough for an 8-year-old kid to hack within 30 minutes,” he told PBS NewsHour on Sunday. “It’s negligent for us as a society.”
Braun said it would have been a “waste of time” to let adult hackers try to infiltrate the replicas.
“They thought hacking a voter website was interesting 20 years ago,” he explained. “We had to give it to kids to actually make it challenging.”
Out of the 39 children that participated in the event, 35 were able to hack into the replica websites of six swing states, according to DEFCON.
“Kids tampered with vote tallies, party names, candidate names, etc.,” said conference officials. “Total vote counts were changed to numbers like 12 billion and candidate names were changed to things like ‘Bob Da Builder’ or ‘Richard Nixon’s Head.'”
According to event organizers from Wickr, the kiddie hackers broke into “the portions of the websites that are critical to the election process, [so] the kids worked against the replicas of the webpages where election results are reported by secretaries of state.”
In response, the National Association for Secretaries of State released a statement after the conference — saying the replicas weren’t accurate portrayals of the voting systems being used.
“Providing conference attendees with unlimited physical access to voting machines, most of which are no longer in use, does not replicate accurate physical and cyber protections established by state and local governments before and on Election Day,” NASS said. “It would be extremely difficult to replicate these systems since many states utilize unique networks and custom-built databases with new and updated security protocols.”