A group of American hackers has revealed the ‘staggering flaws’ they observed in American voting machines ahead of November’s midterm elections.
The group said their observations and detections are not just of political significance but are also issues that may cause a problem to national security.
The group constituted a voting college, of several hackers who looked into the systems and discovered several loopholes.
A report from the group said; “The problems outlined in this report are not simply election administration flaws that need to be fixed for efficiency’s sake, but rather serious risks to our critical infrastructure and thus national security.”
According to the BBC, more than 30 voting machines and other pieces of equipment were made available to attendees of the conference, including the M650 electronic ballot scanner, which is currently used by 23 US states.
The report says vulnerabilities mean the M650 can be remotely hacked.
A design flaw reported as far back as 2007 was also found in the model tested during the conference.
The organisers of the conference argue that because the unit is designed to process a high volume of ballots, hacking one of the machines could enable an attacker to “flip the electoral college and determine the outcome of a presidential election”.
The makers of the M650 system, Election Systems & Software (ES&S), told the Wall Street Journal that because the voting machine uses paper ballots, votes can be audited.
The company also said “the security protections on the M650 are strong enough to make it extraordinarily difficult to hack in a real-world environment”.
In August, four US Senators signed a letter to ES&S, which said they were “disheartened” that the company had chosen to dismiss the hacker’s demonstrations.
ES&S responded, saying forums open to anonymous hackers “may be a green light for foreign intelligence operatives” and should be viewed with caution.
Recall that the U.S accused Russia of having a hand in the eventual victory of Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential election.
Afterwards, Facebook was also accused of leaking voters’ details to Cambridge Analytica as part of mechanisms used in swinging the election to Trump’s favour.
Experts and political analysts have called for a review of the machines towards ensuring that the sacrosanctness of future elections are respected.