Episode 32 - Hacking Election Voting Machines

By Jason Bennett

Do you think the 2016 Presidential elections were hacked by the Russians? Can voting machines be easily rigged? Are the 2018 midterms at risk of vote tampering? Find out this week on the Election University Podcast! In our third and final LIVE episode from DEF CON 26, our hosts Jason Bennett and Reiny Cohen talk with the organizer and mastermind of the Vote Hacking Village at DEF CON 26. Our hosts will get the inside scoop on election fraud and vote count tampering to find out: how worried should we be really about election integrity?

The Voting Machine Village first appeared at DEF CON 25 in 2017, after various Secretaries of State claimed there was no evidence of hacking election voting machines. To provide public evidence of the hack=ability of voting machines, DEF CON organizers purchased hundreds voting machines online, from sites like Ebay. 25,000 hackers were invited to tamper with the machines. The first machine took 2 minutes to hack remotely and by the end of the conference, all of the machines were hacked. A prefered method for tampering was by Rickrolling users. But even this dramatic evidence was insufficient to change public policy on election vulnerability. So this year, at DEF CON 26, the Voting Machine Village decided to up the ante. They challenged children ages 5-18 to hack the voting machines and vote count websites. An 11-year old hacked into a replica Florida State website in under 10 minutes and changed the displayed election results.

Terrified yet? It gets worse. Jake believes the 2016 presidential election was tampered with but we will never know if the Russians changed the result. Rob Joyce, the Trump administration’s cyber czar spoke at DEF CON 26 and warned that adversaries (Russians) are using the easily available voting machines and software to train for far more damaging attacks. So what can we do today to protect the integrity of our democracy? Tune into the Election University podcast to find out!

Jake Braun is the CEO of Cambridge Global Advisors, a cyber and national security consulting firm. In addition to his role at Cambridge Global, Jake is a strategic advisor to the DHS and Pentagon on cybersecurity. He is also a faculty member of University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy. Jake previously served as the White House Liaison to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the Obama Administration. Mr. Braun was also on the Presidential Transition Team serving as the  Deputy Director for the National Securities Agency Review.

Interested in learning more to learn more about Voting Village or Jake Braun? Follow Jake on twitter @VotingVillageDC. You can also learn more about his cybersecurity policy initiatives here.

Listeners, we want to hear from you! Send us an email at podcast@electionu.com or leave us a note or a review in the comment section below. Want to get involved or participate in next year’s DEF CON? Maybe we’ll catch you at DEF CON 27! Let us know!

You can listen to the show right here on the EU website or by subscribing in iTunes, Apple Podcasts, GooglePlay, Spotify, Stitcher, Soundcloud, iHeartRadio, and more! If you do subscribe, please leave us a rating and review. We love the feedback and we read every one! If you'd like to hear a particular topic on our podcast, please email podcast@electionu.com. As always, thanks for listening!

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    Episode 1 - Our Inaugural Episode

    Episode 3 - Locking Down Your Campaign Security

    Episode 4 - Political Spouses

    Episode 5 - Voter Integrity & Voter Protection