With the US Midterm election coming up, we all want to know – is your vote secure? The voting machines used for elections are just old computers running on outdated operating systems. Vulnerabilities have been found in all areas of these machines. It’s been tested that remote hackers can easily install malware, and even poll-workers could gain access to hacking the machines. So just how secure are elections?
- Voting Registration Systems: these databases can be erased and fake voter profiles can be created.
- Voter Check-In: the network connected to the tablet-like poll books can be infiltrated, allowing for data to be altered or even completely shutting down the system.
- Vote Tallying and Reporting: much like the voting machines, the computers used for this are old and out of date and therefore exposed to unlimited malicious activity and tampering.
- Voting Audits: this is not necessarily something a hacker could infiltrate, but it is definitely a result of the vulnerability in the election system. Voting audits will now begin to compare paper ballot counts to electronic counts in all contests, not just close races.
What can be done?
Unfortunately, the US just needs to implement a more up to date security system for elections. Although significant efforts have been made with a $38 million dollar allocation of funds since 2016, there is a lot of work to be done. Cybercrime, along with technology, is always growing and changing. Without consistent monitoring and improvements, it becomes increasingly difficult to stay secure. The best solution is paper voting and ballot counting to ensure safety and integrity in the vote.
So if influencing an election is that simple, how safe could your personal data really be? The Facebook data breach is a perfect example of how our data can be used against us for election purposes or being exposed to the black web for malicious cyber crime. Once this information is exposed, there really isn’t much that can be done about getting it back.
What we can take away from this:
- Always update – your operating system, programs, antivirus, passwords and your FixMeStick. Updates implement the latest security patches and repair flaws within the systems.
- Research – be aware of what’s out there and what risks are involved in terms of online data sharing. For social media, read the privacy agreements before getting involved and think about what you’re sharing about yourself online. It’s always good to keep in mind that nothing on the internet is ever really private, not to mention permanent.
- Consistency is key – choose a day every two weeks to run a FixMeStick scan. This will not only ensure your online and computer safety from malicious threats, but also automatically help you to be consistent in updating your FixMeStick to the latest malware definitions. Plus you now get rewarded for using your FixMeStick every month with free stuff.
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