Internet Security Issues

If Russia hacked the DNC? What me worry?

Did Russia hack the DNC, DCCC, and Hillary’s Campaign.  And does it only matter who the hackers are?

With little disclosed evidence, the prime story has been the question of who hacked the sites.  That is an important aspect of the news, yet there are other important issues obscured, perhaps intentionally by the focus on that one aspect of the hacks.

Online Voting Is Risky, Riskier than Online Banking

My letter to the Hartford Courant today.

To the Editor,

The article in the Sunday July, 10 Smarter Living Section, “Democracy in The Digital Age”, is a one-sided disservice to readers. The article, abbreviated from Consumer Reports original, provides a one-sided case for online voting.  The article quotes the CEO of a company selling online voting at a huge expense to governments around the world.  She touts the benefits without detailing the risks.  The system she touts as secure, has never been proven secure. It has never been subjected to a public security test.  Unlike the printed version, the original article at Consumer Reports details the risks of online voting…

If they fear Internet privacy and security, why would they vote that way?

A new government survey highlights the consequences of Internet insecurity.  From the Washington Post: Why a staggering number of Americans have stopped using the Internet the way they used to <read>

Nearly one in two Internet users say privacy and security concerns have now stopped them from doing basic things online — such as posting to social networks, expressing opinions in forums or even buying things from websites, according to a new government survey released Friday…

The research suggests some consumers are reaching a tipping point where they feel they can no longer trust using the Internet for everyday activities…

Connecticut Makes National Short List – Embarrassing

Yesterday the Connecticut Online Voter Registration System was down for the morning.  Reminiscent of last fall when the system was down for most of the last day local election officials had to print voter lists for polling places in the November election.

Last week Reuters covered a study of cybersecurity and Connecticut was cited as one of the weakest states. It also cited the U.S. Government as worse than most U.S. Corporations.

We sadly await the Election Day when the Connecticut voter registration system is down, especially with no contingency plan for Election Day Registration. Don’t say “Who Could Have Imagined”, we did.

Safe as an ostrich, from cyber attack.

Imagine no Internet for a few weeks. Imagine if that is because there is no power grid. CNN.Money: Cyber-Safe: How Corporate America keeps huge hacks secret

The backbone of America — banks, oil and gas suppliers, the energy grid — is under constant attack by hackers.

But the biggest cyberattacks, the ones that can blow up chemical tanks and burst dams, are kept secret by a law that shields U.S. corporations. They’re kept in the dark forever.

Will encryption save us? No, “It’s Saturday Night!”

Last Saturday, some may have been channel surfing and mistakenly thought they were watching Saturday Night Live.  As one the 2% of voters spending last Saturday night intentionally watching the debate between the Democratic candidates and two ABC hosts, I was not the only one that noticed the flaws in one candidate’s claims for encryption that went unchallenged.

Fortunately, Jenna McLaughlin of The Intercept articulates the issues and the faulty assumptions of candidates and pundits: Democratic Debate Spawns Fantasy Talk on Encryption <read>

During Saturday’s debate, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton said the U.S. should commission a “Manhattan-like project,” a reference to the secret World War II-era atomic bomb endeavor, to address the alleged threat encryption poses to law enforcement. She also admitted she doesn’t actually understand the technology.

Cyber risks of Internet voting and electronic voting

Two articles this week on cyber risks, one refuting Colorado’s Secretary of State on online voting. Another articulating the risks of hacking electronic voting in general.

Stay tuned and stay involved!

NonScience Nonsense, another claim of electronic voting security

In late June a respected source published a non-peer-reviewed article: The case for election technology Which despite its title is actually a marketing piece disguised as science, not for election technology but for electronic voting, including Internet voting. The case actually made is for skepticism and peer-review.

That skepticism is well addressed in posts by Jeremy Epstein and E. John Sebes: How not to measure security and A Hacked Case For Election Technology

Consensus Reached on Recommendations Toward the Future of Internet Voting

Consensus Reached on Recommendations Toward the Future of Internet Voting

USVoteFoundationThe U.S. Vote Foundation has released a report on the feasibility and requirements for Internet voting. This is the result of about eighteen months of work by computer scientists, security experts, and election officials.  The goal was to answer definitively once and for all if Internet voting was feasible today or in the future.

The short version is the Internet voting is not ready for prime time, not ready for democracy. Yet, it is possible in the future that a system may be developed which could provide safe Internet voting.  The paper lays out the requirements and testing criteria for such a system.

(Internet voting includes online voting, email voting, and fax voting).

Top security official, spouts NonScience Nonsense

Comey’s problem is the nearly universal agreement among cryptographers, technologists and security experts that there is no way to give the government access to encrypted communications without poking an exploitable hole that would put confidential data, as well as entities like banks and power grids, at risk.

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