Governors, Academics, Hackers Lock Arms to Curb Election Hacking
US governors, academics, and certain hackers are going arm-in-arm in a new anti-hacking group, whose aim is to prevent the tampering and manipulation of voting machines and computer systems to meddle with the results of future elections in the United States, claimed an anonymous source familiar with the matter on Monday.
The coalition against hacking consists of the organizers of Def Con hacking conference, which was held last summer in Las Vegas. It also includes the National Governors Association and the Center of Internet Security, according to the source. The person also said that a formal announcement of the coalition is set to be made shortly.
Moreover, the project also puts under its network a Washington-based Atlantic Council think tank and several other universities.
According to another report, the coalition will be introduced to the world as Def Con organizers publish a report that will describe and enumerate voting machine vulnerabilities, which were uncovered last July.
In the aforementioned July event, hackers disassembled and pulled apart voting machines and election computers, and then uncovered security bugs. These bugs, according to the organizers, could be exploited by those people attempting to manipulate or meddle with election results.
Another report published by the organizers has been released, and according to it, people at the conference learned to hack voting machines in just some minutes or hours.
Even before last year’s US presidential election, concerns regarding election hacking and interference have been raised. During that time, a report by top US intelligence agencies determined that Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered hackers to hack Democratic Party emails to help the then Republican candidate, Donald Trump, to win the election and defeat the opposing party’s bet, Hillary Clinton.
The US Department of Homeland Security has stated that Russian hackers tried to target more than 20 US state election systems during last year’s election. According to them, a small number were breached. Some states have claimed that they were hacked, but there was no evidence found that suggested a tampering with the votes.
Several committees in the congress are investigating the matter, and special counsel Robert Mueller is heading a separate investigation into the alleged involvement of Russia. Mueller is also probing whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.
Russia has consistently denied the allegations.
Meanwhile, the group report from the organizers of the Def Con said that US states should diminish the amount of non-American parts and software in the design of the voting machine.
“Via a supply chain originating overseas, voting equipment and software can be compromised at the earliest of stages in manufacturing process,” said the report. Other details regarding the anti-hacking coalition have not yet been disclosed.
Recently, different tech companies have decided to work together with congressional committees in order to investigate the possible Kremlin-linked interference during last year’s election. Facebook Inc has submitted ads that were suspected to be Russian-bought, while Twitter has been called to appear in front of the US senate along with Facebook and Microsoft. Facebook recently announced that around 10 million people saw the Russian ads.
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