Why Is Election Security So Hard?

In the aftermath of the Russian attack on the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, concerns about election security and the possible threats to our democracy, have been raised in several countries, including Norway.

- The easiest way to manipulate an election is to go after the computers, software and the people that make them, Patricia Aas argued in a chronicle published in the Norwegian newspaper VG, 29 July 2017.

With under two months to the Norwegian parliamentary election, Aas raised the issue of election security and pointed to the fact that the security procedures implemented might have loop holes or weaknesses that could be exploited.

- I am not saying that elections have been manipulated in Norway, I am just saying that nobody has proven that the elections haven’t be manipulated.

In Norway, votes are scanned by machines, which are operated by software programs that are specially developed for Norwegian elections and Norwegian ballots. Aas was concerned that these IT systems could be vulnerable to hacking, with the intent to manipulate the election results. Such break-ins could be difficult to discover, especially when the election results are close to even and the margins between the winning and the losing party are very small.

- It’s necessary to handle election systems as critical for societal security, and make sure they cannot be abused to manipulate Norway as a state, Aas argued.

At Paranoia 2019 Patricia Aas will address the issue of election security and explain why the use of computers often introduce more vulnerabilities than they solve when applied in elections.

See Patricia Aas' bio.

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