DEF CON Hackers Prove Ease in Hacking Voter Machines and Government Sites


DEF CON held earlier this month in Las Vegas draws one of the largest crowds of hackers and cyber security interested parties. It is a hacker convention providing the most recent information and developments in hacking, while also allowing DEF CON hackers to show their skills in varied contests and games.

DEF CON Hackers Get Access to Voting Machine and SOS Website Replicas

This year, voter machines and government website replicas were a top interest to election officials concerned with election integrity.  With the upcoming November midterm elections, such apprehension is in the air.  The reliability of data and tampering of votes seems to always creep up as a topic of contention during elections.  However, seeing hackers easily access and manipulate data at DEF CON adds merit to the concerns.

For instance, DEF CON hackers broke into voting machines as well as Secretary of State replica websites with election results.   Although several people were able to hack these machines and/or sites, a couple hackers stood out.  One 11 year old boy was able to hack a website in just under ten minutes.  Another hacker turned a voting machine into a jukebox.  While seemingly fun and games, DEF CON hackers help to shed light on vulnerabilities.  The information gained can help officials identify ways to improve election systems and processes.

Data Hacking Issues Are A Daily Reality, Even In The Most Secure Environments

Critics of DEF CON hackers and the DEF CON environment setups, such as the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), argue that the hackers are performing in unrealistic settings.  NASS insists their sites are protected and contend their systems are built with custom security protocols. However, even Apple, Inc. recently saw their unhackable servers hacked by a 16 year old Australian want-to-be-employee fan of Apple.  Additionally, last week, the FBI issued a warning to financial institutions of a cybercrime plan by hackers to perform a global ATM "cash-out" scheme.

So, cyber attacks are truly a daily reality.  Companies, individuals, and the government alike should take data hacking seriously.  With technology constantly changing, precautions and safeguards need to evolve as well.  Some states maintain antiquated systems for elections, per today's technology advances.  Improving systems and security measures is a continuous need.  One can learn great insights at DEF CON.  The conference gains attention from government officials and security professionals, among many other groups with interest in cyber issues and security news.

Regulations And Laws Need To Catch Up With Technology

Cybersecurity has increasingly been a hot topic with a lack of significant legislative guidance and regulation.  And, new technology innovations are surpassing existing technology laws.  Therefore, the awareness that can be gained from DEF CON could be valuable in finding ways to improve protection and security.

For more information on this topic, please visit our Data Privacy service page, which is part of our Technology & Data Practice.

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