The safety of most election systems didn’t exactly earn a vote of confidence following last weekend’s DefCon hacking conference in Las Vegas. One session reportedly featured an 11-year-old who successfully hacked into a replica of the website used by the Florida Secretary of State to report election results and changed them.
It took the young hacker only 10 minutes to break in and gain access.
The child took part in a DefCon Voting Machine Hacking Village, where kids as young as eight years old attempted to access replica web pages and change information.
“These websites are so easy to hack we couldn’t give them to adult hackers, they’d be laughed off the stage,” said Jake Braun, a former White House liaison for the Department of Homeland Security in an interview with ABC News.
Braun said the conference invited younger hackers to DefCon because it would be a “waste of time” showcasing experts hacking these sites.
In a statement to the media, the Florida Department of State, which oversees elections, said that the mock site used by DefCon likely had few, if any, security measures in place and thus was not a real-life scenario as it did not take into account the state-of-the-art security measures the department uses to prevent hacking attempts from being successful.
The Department further noted that the mock site was only used to publish preliminary, unofficial results and was not connected to vote counting equipment and thus couldn’t change actual election results.