Some of us spend days and months of indecision, hours in front of the TV watching campaign commercials and presidential debates, researching on the Net, mulling the options with family and friends, all ultimately to go to the polls to exercise our constitutional right to vote. For millions among us, this is a final decision and a terminal point.
Not for me.
As an information security specialist and database security researcher, I wonder where my vote goes, in what database it’s maintained, and, of course, how secure it is.
Hard experience has taught me that right now, somewhere, a hacker is trying to penetrate the voter databases “just for fun,” “to prove something,” or if I really want to be paranoid, “because he’s part of a powerful, international organization that seeks to dictate our political process by determining elections.”
Paranoia? I wish. One only has to read the news-Â¦ last year, the databases of major companies were hacked: LinkedIn, Visa, KT Mobile, Sony, Zappos, etc. Of course, that tally doesn’t include the organizations who don’t know they were hacked.
Want news on voter databases being hacked in the last few years? Take a look at the list below, the result of a two-minute Google search:
- July 15, 2012: Florida Allowed to Access Citizen Database for Voter Purge
- July 27, 2012: Obama Administration to Open Voter Database
- March 26, 2012: GOP’s Voter Vault Database Hacked, Candidates’ Identity Altered
- August 2011: No Personal Information Compromised After Voter Database Hacked
At a time when databases are being constantly penetrated by unauthorized users and personal information is being stolen, misused or just maliciously exposed, the question remains: How secure are voter databases?
As if selecting a candidate isn’t vexing enough, now, I have a bigger concern: “How can I be sure my vote ultimately goes to the candidate of my choice?” “Will my vote be manipulated in any way, whether by foreign or domestic entities?” “Will my voter information be used to make it easier to have my identity stolen? (Even the FBI says identity theft represents a more serious threat than drugs.)”