How Safe is Your Vote?

With Election Day Fast Approaching in the USA, Many Are Concerned About Cybersecurity at the Polls

It’s almost that time again.  Election Day is just a few weeks away for residents of the United States, and citizens want to make sure that their vote is counted.  Concerns with ballot integrity are nothing new, dating back to the earliest days of democracy in ancient times.  You probably remember the controversy in the 2000 election and the “hanging chad” question that arose with paper ballots in Florida.

In the two decades since, we’ve moved more and more towards electronic voting systems as technology has continued to evolve and proliferate.  The concerns remain, however, even though the mechanics of the balloting procedures have changed.  There are security threats abounding in cyberspace, so what’s to say they can’t affect our voting machines? 

The stakes are certainly high enough, and the ramifications of a successful attack this November could have severe and catastrophic effects in both the short and long term.  Accordingly, having proper security measures at polling stations has been a primary focus of governments at local, state, and federal levels. There has been a lot of media attention on the subject recently–and rightfully so, the public has a right to know how their vote is being handled and protected.

Have we done enough since then to adequately prepare and fix prior vulnerabilities?  Just how safe are the actual voting machines on a technical level?  And what is the probability that a large-scale attack could be successfully pulled off?

Let’s hash it out.

Cybersecurity Issues With the 2016 Election

The 2016 election resulted in a litany of cybersecurity-related questions after it was all said and done.  In that instance, Russia-linked groups were the main hostile parties, as they attacked the campaigns of candidates on both sides, probed state voter registration databases for vulnerabilities, and released disinformation and propaganda on social media.

Over the past three and a half years, we’ve gradually learned more about what exactly went down thanks to intelligence agency memos, court documents, witness…