“Hackers have ramped up their efforts to meddle with the country’s election infrastructure in the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s midterms, sparking a raft of investigations into election interference, internal intelligence documents show.” — The Boston Globe, 11/5/18
If you are looking for a clear sign that our modern voting systems are vulnerable to cyber attacks, this isn’t it. Do not panic about the laughing skull made of 1s and 0s seen at voting places across the state of Georgia. It is, in fact, a screensaver. As you may know, screens need to rest from time to time. It is vital to our polling process that these screen savers run on an occasional basis.
Nothing to worry about. Every vote will be counted accurately in every county of every state in the country.
We are just getting word that voting machines in Texas are showing a video of a conga line of skeletons dancing around a coffin with the word DEMOCRACY written on it. This is more normal than you might think, and is not necessarily an indication that the election has been compromised.
Some have been quick to note that these occurrences are taking place in states with machines that do not keep paper trails of votes. Let me take a moment to explain how we secure our polling machines from threats.
All voting data are stored on a technology known as “floppy disks.” These storage devices are used almost exclusively by US state and federal governments. It would be tremendously difficult for a civilian or foreign actor to get their hands on these devices in order to upload nefarious code into the voting terminal.
This just in: voting booths in Pennsylvania are playing images of skeletons in pirate hats burning an American flag. We are investigating the veracity of these claims, as the CPUs in these machines are not normally capable of rendering three colors at once.
Anyway, even if a potential cybercriminal did manage to obtain and compromise a floppy disk, they would have to manually insert them into the voting machine’s disk drive. The drive itself is protected by a plastic casing secured with a padlock. When not in use, they are stored in a warehouse that is sealed with a bicycle U-lock. Breaking through these safety measures would require the hacker to have superhuman strength, or a crowbar and a little finesse. Our intelligence community is not aware of enemy groups with such capabilities.
So you can see that our polling machines are unimpeachably secure.
Before I wrap up, I’d like to address the reports of voting booths in South Carolina blasting the Russian national anthem while playing a video of a skull eating the US Constitution. At this time, the cause of that particular phenomenon is not certain. However, we believe it is most likely a simulation created by a member of our IT department that never got turned off. It is a minor slip up that should be resolved shortly.
Remember to go out and vote today. Try to get to your polling location early just in case an animation of a skull humping the White House appears out of nowhere and delays things.