Russia has been trying to dig its way into our elections for years. Which is why we need to return to paper ballots. Because electronic voting machines are far too vulnerable to hacking. And yes, anything can be hacked.
Russia’s military intelligence agency launched an attack before Election Day 2016 on a U.S. company that provides voting services and systems, according to a top secret report posted Monday by The Intercept.
The news site published a report, with redactions, by the National Security Agency that described the Russian spear-phishing scheme, one it described as perpetrated by the same intelligence agency — the GRU — sanctioned by the Obama administration over the 2016 cyber-mischief.
Intelligence agency leaders say that Russia’s attacks did not change any actual votes in the 2016 race, but election technology experts have been concerned for years that hackers could attempt to manipulate not only individual voting machines but other equipment used to run elections, such as those that tabulate votes or keep track of voter registrations.
While the machines that voters use to cast their ballots are not connected to the Internet, the computers used to program these machines, or to run elections, can be connected at some point, leaving them vulnerable to cyberattacks.
J. Alex Halderman, a computer security expert from the University of Michigan, is among those who have been sounding the alarm for years.
“It’s highly significant that these attacks took place, because it confirms that Russia was interested in targeting voting technology, at least to some extent. I hope further investigation can shed more light on what they intended to do and how far they got,” he says.
Paper ballots. Or none of us will be able to trust any election results again.