Security Consultants Demonstrate That It's Easy To Hack Voting Machines

Don Crothers

Security consultants have been demonstrating that it's simple and affordable to hack voting machines recently. Cyber security firms like Symantec and Crowdstrike have confirmed that hacking a voting machine is a fairly simple process, costing about $15 online and requiring only moderate knowledge.

"I can insert it, and then it resets the card, and now I'm able to vote again," Symantec researcher Brian Varner told CBS News. The hacker doesn't even need to leave the voting booth - and monitoring the actions of someone casting a vote is illegal, to preserve the voter's right to cast a secret ballot.

"For $15 and in-depth knowledge of the card, you could hack the vote."
"There's not even a doubt in my mind that there are other actors out there that have yet to be found. I'm sure there will be other hacks that come out over the course of this election and certainly beyond that."

And while the voter access card is designed to be used once per person, it's also designed to be reused by multiple voters - and that is where it's vulnerable to attack although hackers must have access to the access card ahead of time. Unfortunately, that's certainly not impossible if one has access to one of the precinct officials who hold the cards.

Symantec Security Response director Kevin Haley added that the votes could also be tampered with by hacking into the machines after the votes are collected.

"The results go from that machine into a piece of electronics that takes it to the central counting place. That data is not encrypted and that's vulnerable for manipulation."

"There are so many places in the voting process once it goes electronic that's vulnerable."

"There are so many places in the voting process once it goes electronic that's vulnerable."

The Election Assistance Commission was quick to offer assurances that all electronic voting systems were kept up-to-date and rigorously tested for compliance with security standards. But security experts appear to be demonstrating that no electronic system is especially safe.

[Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images]