Hackers, U.S. Governors, Academics collaborate to stop the rigging of future U.S. elections

Ever wandere why the U.S. government banned the use of Kaspersky Anti-virus on government computers? How difficult is to remotely exploit vulnerabilities in voting machines and computer systems. Here’s a 5 minute read that sheds light on these topics.

In an unlikely coalition, academics and hackers have joined forces with U.S. governors to strengthen and prevent the manipulation of computer systems and voter machines to sway the outcome of future U.S. elections, said a source.

Members of this anti-hacking coalition include organizers of last summer’s Def Con conference, which took place in Las Vegas, the Center for Internet Security and the National Governors Association, said the source who requested anonymity since a formal announcement is yet to be made.

In addition, several universities and the Washington-based Atlantic Council think tank are also a part of this collaboration, said the source.

As a starting step, members of the coalition will unveil a report which describes a list of vulnerabilities that were found in the voting machine in July this year.

At Def-Con hackers had pulled apart voting machines as well as the computers that were used in the election and in the process had discovered several exploitable vulnerabilities which could potentially have been utilized to manipulate election results.

As per a copy of the report that is to be released by the Def Con organizers on Tuesday, people at the security conference had learned how to hack voting machines within minutes and hours.

Concerns of election hacking in the U.S. have surged since 2016, with news reports surfacing that top U.S. intelligence agencies were of the opinion that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered the hacking of the Democratic Party’s emails to help the Republican Party’s candidate Donald Trump, win the Nov. 8 2016 elections.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has gone on record to state that Russian hackers had targeted 21 U.S. state election systems in the 2016 presidential race; it even admitted that a small number of the targeted machines were hacked.

As a result, several congressional committees are investigating the incident; special counsel Robert Mueller is also leading a separate probe into Russia’s involvement in manipulating the results of 2016’s U.S. elections, including whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.

Russia has denied the accusations.

The Def-Con organizers have publicly recommended at least one potential counter-measure – strip all non-American hardware and software used in the voting machines.

“Via a supply chain originating overseas, voting equipment and software can be compromised at the earliest of stages in manufacturing process,” reads the report.

More information on this site will be provided once more the report of the anti-hacking coalition becomes available.

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