We need to hack-proof our elections. An old technology can help.

By Michael Chertoff and Grover Norquist
Washington Post, February 14, 2018

Michael Chertoff was secretary of homeland security from 2005 to 2009. Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform.

The nation’s top intelligence officers warned Congress this week that Russia is continuing its efforts to target the 2018 elections.

This should come as no surprise: A few months ago, the Department of Homeland Security notified 21 states that hackers had targeted their election systems in 2016. Yet Congress still has not passed legislation to meaningfully address election cybersecurity.

Time is running out. Lawmakers need to act immediately if we are to protect the 2018 and 2020 elections.

There’s no evidence that vote totals were hacked in 2016. But it’s obvious that hackers have been testing the waters. Our attention has focused on Russia, but future threats could also come from North Korea, China, hacking groups such as Anonymous or any other adversary — foreign or domestic.

It should also be no surprise that hackers have U.S. voting systems in their sights. They’re a relatively easy target. Researchers have studied a range of electronic voting infrastructure — including touch screens, optical scanner systems and registration databases — and found serious vulnerabilities that could allow even moderately sophisticated attackers to pose threats to voting integrity. This year, about 40 states are set to use electronic voting or tabulation systems that are more than a decade old — many of which run on software that’s too old to be serviced with vendor security patches. A survey of nearly 300 election officials in 28 states found that a clear majority report needing new voting systems.

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