Tags: Trump Administration | Homeland Security | Elections | Hacking | Federal Government

Fear of Election Hacking Prompts Feds to Offer Help

Image:  Fear of Election Hacking Prompts Feds to Offer Help

 (AP)

By    |   Friday, 23 Sep 2016 11:36 AM

The Department of Homeland Security is working with election officials in several states to ensure the legitimacy of the upcoming election, CNN reports.

Over the summer, the election systems in Illinois and Arizona were cracked, possibly by hackers on behalf of the Russian government.

"Based on briefings we have received, we have concluded that the Russian intelligence agencies are making a serious and concerted effort to influence the U.S. election," California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Adam Schiff told CNN on Thursday.

Now election officials in Pennsylvania and Ohio will accept offers from the DHS to help protect the election from a cyberattack.

"We even asked the National Guard to attempt to penetrate our databases," Joshua Eck, spokesman for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, told CNN. "We've had a number of really positive tests. It has gone well and we've been able to find vulnerabilities and fix them."

Not every state is so welcoming of federal protection. Some see it as an opportunity for the government to interfere.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp accused the government of trying to "subvert the Constitution to achieve the goal of federalizing elections under the guise of security."

Kemp's office later announced that they were not flatly refusing federal help.

According to TIME Magazine, the country's decentralized election structure means hacking the election in order to influence the results would be "a very—very—unlikely scenario."

"There is so much worry about this and it's really damaging if it keeps people from voting," Tom Hicks, a commissioner with the Election Assistance Commission, told TIME. "The truth is, the voting process is the most secure it’s ever been."

Merle King, executive director of Kennesaw State University’s Center for Elections Systems, claims that anyone hacking the election is "totally improbable."

"It just can't really happen," King told TIME.

For one, even if hackers did compromise electronic voting machines, it wouldn’t affect the roughly 70 percent of voters who use paper ballots. And for the other 30 percent who do use voting machines, they are rarely connected to the Internet, meaning hackers would have to access the machines in person to compromise them.

"It's very far-fetched, actually," King said. "If there was something that came up, even on a small scale, that compromised people's perception of the legitimacy of this election," he continued, "that would be the worst outcome—that could be really terrible."

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The Department of Homeland Security is working with election officials in several states to ensure the legitimacy of the upcoming election, CNN reports. Over the summer, the election systems in Illinois and Arizona were cracked, possibly by hackers on behalf of the Russian...
Elections, Hacking, Federal Government
397
2016-36-23
Friday, 23 Sep 2016 11:36 AM
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