AJ Vicens at Mother Jones writes—State Voter Registration Systems Are Easier to Hack Than Anyone Wants to Admit:
Last weekend at the DEF CON conference—the annual get together for hackers, spooks, and computer enthusiasts—hackers showed how easily voting machines could be hacked, proving once more how vulnerable they are to cyber attacks. But conference organizers did not restrict the electoral hacking demonstration to voting machines. A virtual voter registration data base was also attacked, and defended, which experts say is just as worrisome.
“If you look at all of the reports about foreign actors, malicious actors attacking US election infrastructure in the last election, they were not attacking the election machines,” Harri Hursti, an expert in hacking voting machines, and one of the co-organizers of the voting machine hacking exercises, tells Mother Jones. “They were attacking the back-end network, the underlying infrastructure. This was the simulation that showed how vulnerable [it is] and how hard it is to defend.” […]
“The current generation of voting technology used in the US has, since its introduction after the turn of the century, enjoyed something of a ‘honeymoon’ from serious attack up until now,” Matt Blaze, a University of Pennsylvania professor and co-organizer of the DEF CON hacking exercise, wrote recently in his blog, after The Intercept published a classified NSA document detailing alleged Russian attempts to access the networks of election infrastructure suppliers in the US. “It’s abundantly clear,” he continued, “that the honeymoon is over.” […]
Organizers also created a “cyber range,” made up of computer servers onto which they loaded simulations of a real voter registration database. […]
The organizers then asked hackers to either attack the network as part of the “red team,” or try to defend the network in real time from those attacks as part of the “blue team,” an exercise common in the cyber-security world. Attackers were able to penetrate the virtual system, which, in a real-life setting, would allow them to perhaps manipulate voter registration rolls or delete data. The exercise demonstrated how challenging it is to defend voter registration systems, and, most importantly, how under-trained and badly prepared state and local officials tasked with defending those networks are.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
~Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom (1994)
These white supremacists disrupted our panel on immigration in an attempt to intimidate us. These are the faces of hate. pic.twitter.com/upmnOnSXdU
— Tomas Kennedy (@Tomaskenn) August 3, 2017
(In case you are curious, Identity Evropa’s website (which I will not link) leads off with a huge photo of the Richmond statue of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson, making their politics pretty darn clear.)
At on this date in 2011—Republicans leaving FAA shut down and thousands out of work through August:
Over the past week, the partial shutdown of the FAA has been massively overshadowed by the debt ceiling fight. If you needed better evidence for how maimed our nation’s political situation has become, think about that: a major federal agency is mostly shut down for more than a week and it gets little attention because there’s an internal danger facing our government and economy that so dramatically outweighs it.
Here’s a rundown of what you may have missed and where things stand now. The short version is, the FAA will remain closed through August, because House Republicans declined to stay in session after voting on the debt deal. That came despite Senate Democrats, led by Jay Rockefeller, saying they would introduce a bill cutting the rural air subsidies that Republicans had allegedly wanted cut; even Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison decried her party’s decision not to end the shutdown before recess.
Why wouldn’t Republicans jump at Democrats agreeing to a cut they proposed, aside from wanting to get out of town? Because it was never about a $16.5 million cut, of course.