cool hit counter Hacking little girls into the US election system in 10 minutes scares the hell out of me!_Intefrankly

Hacking little girls into the US election system in 10 minutes scares the hell out of me!

1 year old Bianca Lewis has many hobbies. She likes Barbie, video games, fencing, and singing ...... and hacking the infrastructure behind the world's most powerful democracy.

"I'll try to change Donald Trump's vote," she told me.

"I'm going to give him even fewer votes. Might even remove him from the whole thing. "

Fortunately for the president, Bianca is attacking a copy site, not the real deal.

She is participating in a contest organized by R00tz Asylum, a non-profit organization dedicated to "doing good".

It is intended to send a dire warning: in many cases, the voting systems that will be used across the United States for the November midterm vote are so insecure that a young child can learn to attack them with just a few minutes of coaching.

Bianca Lewis, 11, thinks election technology needs to be more secure

"These sites are important because they report election results to the public," explains Nico Sell, founder of R00tz Asylum.

"They also tell the public where to go to vote. You can imagine the chaos that would ensue if either of those two things were to change. "

Hacking real websites would be illegal. As a result, Ms. Sell's team created 13 websites that mimicked real websites, with their vulnerabilities and all their content, as well as 13 so-called "battleground" countries - parts of the country where voting results were expected to be tight.

Over the course of the day, 39 children between the ages of 8 and 17 took on the challenge - 35 of whom managed to get around the trivial security. Mischief ensues. At one point the site told us that 12 billion votes had been cast. Later, we were told that candidate "Bob Da Builder" was the winner.

Desire for a child

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The first competitor to break in was 11-year-old Audrey Jones. It took her 10 minutes.

"The bugs in the code allow us to do whatever we want to do," she told me.

"If we wanted to, we'd call someone our own name and make it look like we won the election!"

Def Con's Kids Zone had more than 300 attendees on the first day - about half of them were girls

The contest is part of the Kids Zone at Def Con, the annual hacker convention in Las Vegas. This year over 300 enthusiastic children participated as they tried their hand at everything from lock picking to welding. At one table, I met two-year-old Catherine Sabonis happily picking out a debit card reader. The organizers told me that about half of the attendees were girls.

This year marks the first time election hacking has been a theme, one inspired by a similar hack conducted by adult attendees at the 2017 show.

While the hacks learned here won't change the actual number of votes - even if they're real votes - they may change how the results are displayed on the official website. It doesn't take much imagination to imagine the outrage caused by the official election website declaring the wrong candidate the winner.

Since the 2016 presidential election, the reliability of these systems has raised concerns, and in some cases not nearly enough. Each state in the United States was able to come up with its own system, and because of budget constraints, many relied on less secure databases and voting machines that ran software that was more than a decade old.

'Our democracy is in danger.'

Last month, Congress voted along party lines to reject the Democratic amendment. It will inject $380 million during 2019 to increase voting security, renewing the same amount of grant funding approved in the previous budget.

The heated meeting culminated in support of amending the "America! America! "in the House - but it's not enough to win Republican votes.

"We need to take this threat very seriously," Ms. Sell said. "The Secretary of State website shouldn't be so vulnerable. These are known vulnerabilities. This is something we need to come together as a community and address because our democracy is at risk. "

Taking a break from hacking for a while, Bianca put a sticker on me of her social media persona. I promise I'll give it a plug. I asked her if she was concerned about the lack of security on the site she had been attacking and had been having great success with throughout the day.

"We should make it safer," she said. "The Russians are out there, people."

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