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Experts warn of danger of violation of electoral system software | WGN 720 radio


Atlanta (AP) – Republicans’ efforts to question the outcome of the 2020 presidential election have led to a violation of the voting system that election security experts say increases the risk for future elections.

A copy of the Dominion Voting Systems software used to manage elections, from designing ballots to setting up the voting machine and aggregating the results, was distributed at an event in South Dakota this this month. Unfounded allegations about last year’s elections.

Matt Masterson, a former Supreme Election Guard in the Trump administration, said, “Basically we told election officials that we should assume that this information is already there. Now we know that, but we don’t know what they’re going to do with it.

A copy of the software came from a voting machine in Mesa County, Colorado and Antrim County, Michigan, and Trump’s allies disputed last fall’s results but failed.

Dominion software is used in approximately 30 states, including the counties of California, Georgia, and Michigan.

Election security pioneer Harri Hursti attended an event in South Dakota, saying he and other researchers in attendance received three separate copies of the Election Management System running on Dominion Software. paddy field. Data showed they were from Antrim and Mesa counties. It is not known how the copy was released at the event, but it was posted online and made available for general download.

This release provides a “hands-on environment” for hackers to investigate potential exploits and a roadmap to bypass defenses. Since the system is not connected to the Internet, hackers only need physical access to the system.

“The door is now wide open,” said Hursti. “The only question is, how do you sneak out the door?” “

Dominion officials declined to comment, citing the investigation.

US electoral technology is dominated by just three vendors, which account for 90% of the market. In other words, electoral authorities cannot easily replace existing technology. Releasing copies of software essentially provides a model for those who try to interfere with the way elections are conducted. Election technology expert Kevin Skogrand said it could disrupt the system, change the design of the ballots and attempt to change the results.

“This disclosure increases both the likelihood of something happening and the impact it would have if it did,” he said.

The effort to investigate Republican voters began shortly after the November presidential election when Trump challenged the results and blamed his losses on widespread fraud, despite the lack of evidence. paddy field.

Democrats and Republicans appointed judges, election officials from both parties and Trump’s own attorney general have dismissed the allegations. A coalition of federal and state election authorities called the 2020 election “the safest” in U.S. history, and post-election audits across the country found no significant anomalies.

In County Antrim, judges authorized forensic examination of voting materials after a brief turmoil in election results led to proceedings alleging fraud. He was fired in May. According to Hearsty, the release date of the software coincides with the date of the forensic examination.

Appeals to the County Antrim clerk and the local prosecutor’s office for information were not immediately referred. An appeal to the judge’s office was forwarded to the county scribe. The Michigan Secretary of State declined to comment.

In Colorado, federal, state, and local governments are investigating whether Mesa County election officials may have granted unauthorized persons access to the system. County Election Clerk Tina Peters appeared on stage with Lindel, South Dakota, telling crowds her office was being targeted by Democrats in the state.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold warned federal election security officials of the breach, saying it was not seen as “a significant increase in electoral risk at this time.” Last week, a member of Mesa County decided to replace the voting device ordered by Griswold.

Jeff Hale, who heads election security activities for the U.S. cybersecurity and infrastructure security agencies, said his agency always operates on the assumption that vulnerabilities in the system are known to malicious attackers. Instead, election officials are focusing on ways to mitigate risk, such as using ballots with paper records that voters can see and rigorous post-election audits, Hale said.

He said releasing Dominion’s software would not change government guidelines.

Security researcher Jack Cable said he assumed American adversaries had already accessed the software. He said he feared the release might be wary of the growing number of people who would not believe in the safety of the US election.

“There are concerns that people trying to show that the system is insecure may actually make it less secure,” said former CISA director Christopher Krebs and former Facebook security chief Alex. Cable, who recently joined the cybersecurity operating company, said. Stamos.

Concerns over access to voting machines and software first surfaced in Arizona this year. In Arizona, a Republican-controlled state legislature hired a non-election corporation, Cyber ​​Samurai, to audit Maricopa County elections. The CEO of the company also tweeted his support for conspiracy theories surrounding last year’s election.

After the county’s Dominion voting system was turned over to the company, the Arizona Supreme Election Authority decided they would never be available and ordered the county to purchase a new one.

Dominion has initiated proceedings to contest various unfounded allegations regarding the system. In May, based on corporate prejudices, he called cyber-ninjas’ access to the code “reckless” and said it would cause “irreparable damage” to election security.

To observe the review, technology and election security expert Ryan Mathias in Arizona warned of the lack of cybersecurity protocols earlier this year. There was no information on who had been granted access, these individuals had passed the background check or had been asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement.

Cyber ​​Ninjas did not respond to emails containing advisories and questions about their security protocols.

Mathias was not surprised to learn that a copy of County Antrim’s Election Management System has surfaced online, given the suspicious motives of the various groups leading the review and the central role played by the voting system in conspiracy theory.

“That’s what I expected and I expect him to come back from Arizona,” Mathias said. “These actors have no rules of responsibility or involvement.

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