As the 2012 presidential campaign swings into full gear, there are concerns that hackers may target voting systems and Websites as a form of political protest.
apparent threat to hack into voting systems and disrupt the vote has the Iowa
Republican Party on edge, according to the Associated Press.
state's Republican Party is boosting the security of the computer systems it
will be using Jan. 3 for the first caucus in the 2012 presidential campaign, AP
reported Dec. 19. Party officials were acting in response to a video posted on
YouTube calling on Anonymous supporters to "peacefully shut down the
first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses" to protest the corrupt political system
that favors corporations.
don't know yet whether the threat is authentic and have not yet confirmed
whether the Anonymous hacktivist collective is really planning any protests to
prevent the vote. As a loose collective of like-minded hackers, Anonymous
doesn't have an official hierarchy or structure, making it very easy for a
single person, or a select few, to claim an attack without most of the group's
participation or knowledge.
the eyes of the media on the state, the last thing we want to do is have a
situation where there is trouble with the reporting system," Wes Enos, a
member of the Iowa GOP's central committee, told AP.
may target the database used to gather votes and crash the Website that would
publicize the results, AP reported. The party recently authorized additional
security measures aimed at preventing attackers from delaying publication of
the caucus results. Some areas in Iowa may use paper ballots instead of just a
show of hands so that the results can be reconstructed if there are any
early caucuses and primaries are critical to the presidential campaign, with
many candidates tweaking their campaign strategy based on their performance.
experts have long worried about the security of the voting machines and the
infrastructure supporting elections. Researchers at the Vulnerability
Assessment Team at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois hacked a Diebold
Accuvote touch-screen voting system in September and managed to change voting
results without leaving any trace of the attack. The researchers said their
attack relied on inserting "alien electronics," or a
credit-card-sized device that cost about $10, inside the machine to give
attackers remote access to the system.