Hackers at at a competition in Las Vegas were able to successfully breach the software of U.S. voting machines in just 90 minutes on Friday, illuminating glaring security deficiencies in America’s election infrastructure.
Tech minds at the annual “DEF CON” in Las Vegas were given physical voting machines and remote access, with the instructions of gaining access to the software.
According to a Register report, within minutes, hackers exposed glaring physical and software vulnerabilities across multiple U.S. voting machine companies’ products.
Some devices were found to have physical ports that could be used to attach devices containing malicious software. Others had insecure Wi-Fi connections, or were running outdated software with security vulnerabilities like Windows XP.
The Register reported that the challenge was designed by Jake Braun, the Chief Executive Officer of Cambridge Global Advisors and Managing Director of Cambridge Global Capital.
“Without question, our voting systems are weak and susceptible. Thanks to the contributions of the hacker community today, we’ve uncovered even more about exactly how,” Braun said.
“The scary thing is we also know that our foreign adversaries – including Russia, North Korea, Iran – possess the capabilities to hack them too, in the process undermining principles of democracy and threatening our national security.”
The machines were bought on Ebay, and were manufactured by major U.S. voting machine companies such as Diebold Nixorf, Sequoia Voting Systems, and Winvote.
In January, President Trump signed an executive order establishing a commission to investigate possible voter fraud in the 2016 election.
The commission, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, is expected to “study the registration and voting processes used in Federal elections” as well as “fraudulent voter registrations and fraudulent voting,” the order says. Trump himself has made baseless claims about millions of illegal voters during the 2016 election.
“You can never really find, you know, there are going to be — no matter what numbers we come up with there are going to be lots of people that did things that we’re not going to find out about,” Trump said in January. “But we will find out because we need a better system where that can’t happen.”