State government group raps voting machine hacking event at DEFCON

The National Association of Secretaries of State has issued a statement criticizing the "Voting Machine Hacking Village" that took place through Sunday, Aug. 12, at DEFCON 26 in Las Vegas.

The association said it supports the conference's goal of finding and reporting vulnerabilities in the election system, but it believes it is important to note that states have been working with their own information technology teams, the Department of Homeland Security, the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center, the private sector, the National Guard and universities to improve their cyber postures with penetration testing, risk and vulnerability assessments, and many other tools.

The hacking village invited children as young as five to compete in a contest to hack election results websites, ABC News reported. The the conference partnered with r00tz Asylum, a children's hacking organization, to give prizes to the youngest kids who breached sites and hacked equipment.

The association's main concern is that the approach taken by DEFCON utilizes a pseudo environment which in no way replicates state election systems, networks or physical security. Providing conference attendees with unlimited physical access to voting machines, most of which are no longer in use, does not replicate accurate physical and cyber protections established by state and local governments before and on Election Day, NASS said. 

NASS said it is also concerned that creating "mock" election office networks and voter registration databases for participants to defend or hack is unrealistic, as it would be extremely difficult to replicate these systems because many states utilize unique networks and custom-built databases with new and updated security protocols.

Topics: Customer Experience, Government, Kiosk Design, Software

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