[CAVO] Fwd: [VVSG-election] [VVSG-interoperability] By November, Russian hackers could target voting machines

Gilbert,Juan E juan at ufl.edu
Thu Jul 28 14:24:07 UTC 2016

Brent, block chain and those other technologies, are hackable as well. Ballot verification is one thing, but tally verification is another. If it's an electronic system, meaning no physical records, then yes, the outcome can certainly be changed undetected. People think that if I can login after I cast my ballot and then verify my ballot then that tells me it worked and there are mathematical models and algorithms to demonstrate this works. That's not true. It's very easy to give you want you need to see, but count it differently. If it's digital, it's malleable. Open source helps in that the code can be reviewed, but code is malleable too.

This Russian cyber attack has opened a fascinating debate with respect to politics and elections. I'm happy to see people talking about this and I hope this leads to constructive debates about the future of our elections.


On 7/28/16 10:11 AM, Brent Turner wrote:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Brent Turner <turnerbrentm at gmail.com<mailto:turnerbrentm at gmail.com>>
Date: Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 7:09 AM
Subject: Re: [VVSG-election] [VVSG-interoperability] By November, Russian hackers could target voting machines
To: Arthur Keller <ark at soe.ucsc.edu<mailto:ark at soe.ucsc.edu>>
Cc: Susan Eustis <susan at wintergreenresearch.com<mailto:susan at wintergreenresearch.com>>, vvsg-election <vvsg-election at nist.gov<mailto:vvsg-election at nist.gov>>, vvsg-pre-election <vvsg-pre-election at nist.gov<mailto:vvsg-pre-election at nist.gov>>, vvsg-post-election <vvsg-post-election at nist.gov<mailto:vvsg-post-election at nist.gov>>, vvsg-interoperability <vvsg-interoperability at nist.gov<mailto:vvsg-interoperability at nist.gov>>

The key is to facilitate smooth transitions of power is to ensure voter confidence and that relates directly to a secure " first count" rather than audit procedures.  I endorse audits..  but history shows us that is when the village becomes restless.. and audits are no substitute for a confidence inspiring - transparent initial count.   Currently the " secret software  " systems coupled with VVPAT's are condemned as insecure by government study, so we don't have to consider the internet to sound those alarms. Ed Felton from OSTP confirms.

Over-focus on audits seem to be an affectation of the fund raising groups with motivations unclear. Though the open source election reform advocates 100 % immediate audit at the precinct level.. we recognize the key is to capture a precise and secure count previous to transportation of the ballots.  The media must stand down until the task is completed.

If technology like smart phone voting is available ( with short codes / block chain etc ) at least the voter will be able to verify their vote was counted as cast.


Brent Turner
California Association of Voting Officials

On Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 6:43 AM, Arthur Keller <ark at soe.ucsc.edu<mailto:ark at soe.ucsc.edu>> wrote:
But that's made harder with vote by mail ballots that aren't counted until later if received on Election Day. And California now has a law allowing ballots to be received on Friday if postmarked on Election Day. Fortunately, California is not a swing state!

And with HAVA requiring a provisional vote process, audits don't occur until after the tabulation is complete. Yet it's election night results that make the difference in the press and in the public's mind. Practically No one pays attention to the detailed results weeks later when the results are certified.

Best regards,

On Jul 28, 2016, at 6:30 AM, Susan Eustis <susan at wintergreenresearch.com<mailto:susan at wintergreenresearch.com>> wrote:

Arthur, I agree, I concur.   My new book lays this scenario out in detail and provides suggestions for preventing the hacks, ways to protect the integrity of the election results, there needs to be safe guards and automatic recounts the very next day with observers representing all candidates, no matter whether the election was close or not.  There needs to be an audit trail and a way to protect the integrity of the balloting that occurs before election day.  There needs to be a way for the observers to make a duplicate of the original ballots as the recount goes on and to run those through their own counting scanner to determine the validity of the election.  There needs to be a way to interrupt the recount at any time if someone has to go to the bathroom or falls asleep so that the recount process has continuity and integrity.  Things like this.

On Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 9:22 AM, Arthur Keller <ark at soe.ucsc.edu<mailto:ark at soe.ucsc.edu>> wrote:
But vote tabulation and especially roll up is often connected to the Internet. And with the lack of effective audits in more jurisdictions, hacking the Internet-connected vote tabulation systems would do the trick.

In particular, if the vote tabulation system is connected to the web reporting system, then that's an avenue for attack.

There's a difference between auditable and actually audited. If the results are sufficiently skewed on election night, post election audits may not matter anyway. They didn't even matter in Florida in 2000 where the election was close.

Could the programming of electronic voting machines be hacked in a Stuxnet type attack while they are loaded with the election data file?

If China can hack Google, do we really believe there's no way Russia can't hack enough counties or states to change the outcome of the presidential election?

Best regards,

On Jul 28, 2016, at 6:07 AM, Deutsch, Herb <hdeutsch at essvote.com<mailto:hdeutsch at essvote.com>> wrote:

Voting machines are not attached to the internet.  You can’t hack them without physical control and that is auditable.

From: vvsg-interoperability-bounces at nist.gov<mailto:vvsg-interoperability-bounces at nist.gov> [mailto:vvsg-interoperability-bounces at nist.gov] On Behalf Of Arthur Keller
Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2016 12:30 AM
To: John Wack
Cc: vvsg-election; vvsg-pre-election; vvsg-post-election; vvsg-interoperability
Subject: [VVSG-interoperability] By November, Russian hackers could target voting machines

What should the election community do about this threat?

Best regards,


By November, Russian hackers could target voting machines
If Russia really is responsible, there's no reason political interference would end with the DNC emails.
By Bruce Schneier July 27 at 3:10 PM
Bruce Schneier<https://www.schneier.com> is a security technologist and a lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. His latest book is Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World<https://www.schneier.com/book-dg.html>.
Russia was behind the hacks into the Democratic National Committee’s computer network that led to the release of thousands of internal emails just before the party’s convention began, U.S. intelligence agencies have reportedly<http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/27/world/europe/russia-dnc-hack-emails.html> concluded.
The FBI is investigating. WikiLeaks promises<http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/26/politics/julian-assange-dnc-email-leak-hack/> there is more data to come. The political nature<http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2016/07/how-putin-weaponized-wikileaks-influence-election-american-president/130163/> of this cyberattack means that Democrats and Republicans are trying to spin this as much as possible. Even so, we have to accept that someone is attacking our nation’s computer systems in an apparent attempt to influence a presidential election. This kind of cyberattack targets the very core of our democratic process. And it points to the possibility of an even worse problem in November — that our election systems and our voting machines could be vulnerable to a similar attack.
If the intelligence community has indeed ascertained that Russia is to blame, our government needs to decide what to do in response. This is difficult because the attacks are politically partisan, but it is<http://arstechnica.com/security/2016/06/guest-editorial-the-dnc-hack-and-dump-is-what-cyberwar-looks-like/> essential<https://www.balloon-juice.com/2016/07/26/we-are-at-cyber-war-so-what-exactly-do-we-do-about-it/>. If foreign governments learn that they can influence our elections with impunity, this opens the door for future manipulations<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-gregg/top-six-ways-hackers-coul_b_7832730.html>, both document thefts and dumps like this one that we see and more subtle manipulations that we don’t see.
Retaliation is politically fraught and could have serious consequences, but this is an attack against our democracy. We need to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin in some way — politically, economically or in cyberspace — and make it clear that we will not tolerate this kind of interference by any government. Regardless of your political leanings this time, there’s no guarantee the next country that tries to manipulate our elections will share your preferred candidates.
Even more important, we need to secure our election systems before autumn. If Putin’s government has already used a cyberattack to attempt to help Trump win<http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/trump-putin-yes-it-s-really-a-thing>, there’s no reason to believe he won’t do it again — especially now that Trump is inviting the “help.”<https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/democratic-national-convention-obama-biden-kaine-set-to-tout-clinton-as-commander-in-chief/2016/07/27/afc57884-53e8-11e6-bbf5-957ad17b4385_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_trump-1230pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory>
Over the years, more and more states have moved to electronic voting machines and have flirted with Internet voting. These systems are<http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/04/meet-the-e-voting-machine-so-easy-to-hack-it-will-take-your-breath-away/> insecure<https://www.statslife.org.uk/significance/politics/2288-how-trustworthy-are-electronic-voting-systems-in-the-us> and<https://www.salon.com/2011/09/27/votinghack/> vulnerable<https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/15/virginia-hacking-voting-machines-security> to<http://whowhatwhy.org/2015/08/31/foreigners-could-hack-us-elections-experts-say/> attack<http://www.popsci.com/gadgets/article/2012-11/how-i-hacked-electronic-voting-machine>.

[Your iPhone just got less secure. Blame the FBI.<https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/03/29/your-iphone-just-got-a-lot-less-secure-and-the-fbi-is-to-blame/>]
But while computer security experts like me<https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2004/11/the_problem_wit.html> have sounded<https://www.giac.org/paper/gsec/3687/inherent-problems-electronic-voting-systems/105962> the<http://homepage.cs.uiowa.edu/%7Ejones/voting/congress.html> alarm<https://cs.stanford.edu/people/eroberts/cs181/projects/2006-07/electronic-voting/index_files/page0004.html> for<https://citp.princeton.edu/research/voting/> many years, states have largely ignored the threat, and the machine manufacturers have thrown up enough obfuscating babble that election officials are largely mollified.
We no longer<https://scontent.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xlp1/v/t1.0-9/12115815_699872940152206_2266030088084252627_n.png?oh=2a4e5e944a5feadb7e133dd8c57be376&oe=57AD8C92> have time<https://xkcd.com/463/> for that. We must ignore the machine manufacturers’ spurious claims<https://www.salon.com/2006/09/13/diebold_3/> of security, create tiger teams to test the machines’ and systems’ resistance to attack, drastically increase their cyber-defenses and take them offline if we can’t guarantee their security online.
Longer term, we need to return to election systems that are secure from manipulation. This means voting machines with voter-verified paper audit trails<http://votingmachines.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000291>, and no<http://engineering.jhu.edu/magazine/2016/06/internet-voting-nonstarter/> Internet<https://www.verifiedvoting.org/resources/internet-voting/vote-online/> voting<http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=2012-presidential-election-electronic-voting>. I know it’s slower and less convenient to stick to the old-fashioned way, but the security risks are simply too great.
There are other ways to attack our election system on the Internet besides hacking voting machines or changing vote tallies: deleting voter records<http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/278231-election-fraud-feared-as-hackers-target-voter-records>, hijacking candidate or party websites, targeting and intimidating campaign workers or donors. There have already been multiple instances of political doxing<https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2015/11/the_rise_of_pol.html> — publishing personal information and documents about a person or organization — and we could easily see more of it in this election cycle. We need to take these risks much more seriously than before.
Government interference with foreign elections isn’t new, and in fact, that’s something the United States itself has repeatedly done<https://www.lawfareblog.com/what-old-and-new-and-scary-russias-probable-dnc-hack> in recent history. Using cyberattacks to influence elections is newer but has been done before, too — most notably in Latin America<http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-how-to-hack-an-election/>. Hacking of voting machines isn’t new, either. But what is new is a foreign government interfering with a U.S. national election on a large scale. Our democracy cannot tolerate it, and we as citizens cannot accept it.

[Why would Russia try to hack the U.S. election? Because it might work.<https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/07/26/why-would-russia-interfere-in-the-u-s-election-because-it-usually-works/>]
Last April, the Obama administration issued<https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/04/01/our-latest-tool-combat-cyber-attacks-what-you-need-know> an<https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/04/01/expanding-our-ability-combat-cyber-threats> executive<https://medium.com/the-white-house/a-new-tool-against-cyber-threats-1a30c188bc4#.jgbalohyi> order<https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/01/executive-order-blocking-property-certain-persons-engaging-significant-m> outlining how we as a nation respond to cyberattacks against our critical infrastructure. While our election technology was not explicitly mentioned, our political process is certainly critical. And while they’re a hodgepodge of separate state-run systems, together their security affects every one of us. After everyone has voted, it is essential that both sides believe the election was fair and the results accurate. Otherwise, the election has no legitimacy.
Election security is now a national security issue; federal officials need to take the lead, and they need to do it quickly.


Susan Eustis
WinterGreen Research
6 Raymond Street
Lexington, Massachusetts
phone 781 863 5078<tel:781%20863%205078>
cell     617 852 7876<tel:617%20852%207876>

Juan E. Gilbert, Ph.D.
Andrew Banks Family Preeminence Endowed Professor & Chair
Computer & Information Science & Engineering Department
Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering
University of Florida
P.O. Box 116120
Gainesville, FL 32611
352.562.0784 (V)
352.273.0738 (F)
juan at ufl.edu<mailto:juan at ufl.edu>
Twitter: @DrJuanGilbert
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