Terrifying: 11-Year-Old Was Able To Hack Election Results ... In Just 10 Minutes
The foundation of any functioning democracy is a fair and free election.
When you mark your paper ballot or hit the “submit” button, it’s assumed that vote is going into an ironclad box and not touched again until it gets tallied.
If you still believe that, 11-year-old Emmett Brewer is about to ruin your day.
While attending DEFCON, a hacker convention, the child was able to enter into a replica of the Florida state election site and change votes, all within ten minutes.
You read that right.
A boy who still has five years to go before anyone would even think to let him behind the wheel of a car just made a United States election system look like literal child’s play.
While it sounds like computer education is going well in our country, a bigger problem in our election system is being highlighted.
Voting machines are becoming increasingly connected to the grid, resulting in vulnerabilities that bad people can exploit.
Matt Blaze, a University of Pennsylvania computer science professor, reinforced that point.
“It’s not surprising that these precocious, bright kids would be able to do it because the websites that are on the internet are vulnerable, we know they are vulnerable, what was interesting is just how utterly quickly they were able to do it.”
Although many think this is what the Russian hacking narrative centers around, they’re misled. That has to do with an email breach into a Clinton aide’s account, and subsequent publication of embarrassing emails and communications.
Many of the conversations about the 2016 election have revolved around this point, with many not even knowing what the Russians were truly accused of.
Real election hacking is a clear and present danger and is one of the few things able to shake the faith of anyone who still believes in the security of voting machines.
And if a child can do it, there’s no doubt an adult can.
Nico Sell, co-founder of a non-profit that teaches coding and hacking skills to kids, said “The site may be a replica but the vulnerabilities that these kids were exploiting were not replicas, they’re the real thing.”
The National Association of Secretaries of State responded, saying “While it is undeniable websites are vulnerable to hackers, election night reporting websites are only used to publish preliminary, unofficial results for the public and the media. The sites are not connected to vote-counting equipment and could never change actual election results.”
So if you ever see an election resulting in school being abolished and a free ice cream policy instituted, know that Emmett Brewer has learned a new trick.
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