Our democracy depends on free and fair elections — but foreign governments continue to try to meddle, interfere, and even hack into political campaigns and elections offices.
According to the Mueller investigation Russian hackers were able to break into at least one Florida county system — and new reporting by veteran investigative journalist Bob Woodward suggests St. Lucie County was the victim of a cyber attack.
Since the high-profile Russian election meddling, Florida has received millions of dollars in federal funding to improve election security — so how difficult is it to hack today?
According to one white hat hacker, it’s as easy as child’s play.
“VERY, SCARILY EASY”
Bianca Lewis was just 11 years old when she hacked into a replica of Florida’s Secretary of State website.
The young hacker, known as BiaSciLab, attended the DEFCON Hacking Convention in Las Vegas in 2018, along with dozens of other kids.
She, and several other pre-teens, was not only able to hack into Florida’s election website — she was able to change election results in a matter of minutes.
“It took ten, fifteen minutes,” she said. “Very, very scarily easy. That’s scary that if one kid with no background experience can easily hack it in less than 15 minutes, then imagine what a team from another country with resources and all the knowledge in the world can do.”
The child hackers used the same code injection technique, called the SQL injection, to change the election results. It’s the same technique that Russian hackers used in 2016 to gain access to the Illinois State Board of Election, which allowed them to steal names and personal information of Illinois voters.
Lewis said it was easy to use the same technique on a mock-up of Florida’s system — which makes her worried for this year’s election.
“Since it was an exact copy of the Florida system if they haven’t changed it from what I was able to hack – good luck!” she said.
A spokesperson for the Florida Secretary of State told CBS12 News that the mockup the child hackers used “had nothing to do with our website… and did not reflect the actual configuration of…