Elite hackers from all around the globe testing the U.S. voting machines over a long weekend at the Defcon Voting Village have discovered that some of the voting equipment is vulnerable to various kinds of attacks.
The hackers released a report detailing these vulnerabilities found in over 100 machines still in use. The report is especially important to lawmakers as they prepare for the 2020 presidential election.
“I’m going to get this in the hands in every member of the U.S. Senate,” said Senator Ron Wyden, the most outspoken election security advocate in the Senate, as he introduced the Def Con Voting Village report.
The conference takes place third year in a row, with previous ones collecting versions of the voting machines used in the United States. The Voting Village then invited all of the 35,000 attendees to see what kind of holes they could find, CNN reports.
It was discovered that a number of machines were vulnerable to remote attacks, while one pollbook had a hidden ethernet cable to connect it to the internet.
According to Matt Blaze, one of the Def Con Voting Village’s organizers, the main problem is that far less skilled hackers could break into the voting equipment, stressing that paper ballots were necessary to ensure greater voting safety.
“We know these machines are vulnerable, and what’s important is we use machines like those that produce paper ballots that can tolerate the vulnerabilities rather than fail completely because of them. And that means paper ballots and risk-limiting audits,” he said.
The spokesperson for Dominion, the U.S.’ second-largest provider of voting hardware and software, said that any upgrade to voting equipment costs a lot of money and even with federal funding, there is no guarantee that machines able to withstand a nation-state attack would be made.
“There are no realistic cost or resource comparisons between securing election systems against nation-state threats, versus securing national defense systems against nation-state threats,” the spokesperson Kay Stimson said.