At a weekend conference in Las Vegas, voting machines stood no ground against the nation’s best hackers.
In a demonstration that could renew longstanding concerns about voting-machine security, hackers boasted thay they were able to crack the voting machine systems, at the annual DefCon Conference. In as little as 90 minutes, someone was already able to breach the systems.
“It took me only a few minutes to see how to hack it,” security consultant Thomas Richards told The Hill.
A total of 30 voting machines of several different types were handed to conference participants and were told to find their weaknesses. They did.
In less than a day, every voting machine was successfully breached, proving that the devices are not up to par with modern technologies.
Hacking methods included simple tactics like finding passwords by surfing through Google, and hitting control-alt-delete and entering the generic password of the machine to unlock administrative functions.
The concerns over voting security have escalated with the warning that foreign actors and others could disrupt elections and exploit vulnerabilities.
“Anything that’s happening in here, you can be sure that those intent on undermining the integrity of our election systems have already done, with all the time and the resources in the world,” Barbara Simons, president of Verified Voting, told USA Today. “There are plenty of people with hostile motives and very considerable attack skills out there.”
The goal of the group was to find the basic weaknesses in the systems rather than to simulate any vote-changing.
“The bad guys can get in,” said Jake Braun, a panel moderator at the conference who advised the Department of Homeland Security on cybersecurity during the Obama administration, according to Politico.