The Hidden Threat Affecting All Elections Results

Many election counting centers use cellular modems to transmit unofficial election-night results.

The modems, which send vote data from precincts to central offices using cellphone networks, help election officials satisfy the public’s demand for rapid results. But putting any networking connection on an election system opens up new ways to attack it that don’t require physical access to machines, and security experts say the risks aren’t worth the rewards.

At least six states — Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan and Minnesota — use modems to transmit results in a combined 36 counties, according to a POLITICO survey. Rhode Island uses them statewide, and Washington, D.C., uses them citywide. 

Hackers can easily and quickly intercept these systems as their vulnerabilities are well known, and bad actors have the tools to exploit them.

Some officials argued their modems avoid security risks by using special networks set up for that purpose. But those systems are no panacea, Wallach said, because they’re still “placing a lot of trust in [telecom companies], and that’s exactly the kind of thing that nation-state adversaries can and do regularly compromise.”

More at Politico.

So what should we do about it? How about we do it the old-fashioned way like they do in countries everywhere.