Coalition to be formed to fight US election hacking

WASHINGTON • Hackers are joining forces with US governors and academics in a new group aimed at preventing the manipulation of voter machines and computer systems to sway the outcome of future US elections, a source familiar with the project has said.

The anti-hacking coalition's members include organisers of last summer's Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas, the National Governors Association and the Centre for Internet Security, said the source on Monday, who asked not to be identified ahead of a formal announcement due to be made yesterday.

The Washington-based Atlantic Council think-tank and several universities are also part of the project, the source said.

The coalition will be unveiled as Def Con organisers release a report describing vulnerabilities in voting machines and related technology that were uncovered in July.

Hackers pulled apart voting machines and election computers at the three-day event, uncovering security bugs that organisers said could be exploited by people trying to manipulate election results.

People at the Las Vegas conference learnt to hack voting machines within minutes or just a few hours, according to a copy of the organisers' report due for release yesterday and seen ahead of time by Reuters.

Concerns about election hacking have surged in the US since late last year when news surfaced that top US intelligence agencies had determined that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered computer hacks of Democratic Party e-mails to help Republican Donald Trump win the Nov 8 election.

The US Department of Homeland Security has said that Russian hackers targeted 21 US state election systems in the 2016 presidential race and a small number were breached, although some states have disputed they were hacked.

There was no evidence that any votes had been manipulated.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2017, with the headline 'Coalition to be formed to fight US election hacking'. Print Edition | Subscribe