For 24 years, hackers have been gathering in Las Vegas for an annual convention dubbed as DEF CON to test the limits of computer safety and security. The event is known for its new challenges each year. However, this year the main contest might have just answered a controversial political matter. Attendees attempted to hack the voting machines that are used for important elections even for the presidency seat.
DEF CON Gathers Numerous Interested Parties, Including FBI Agents and Professors
The Las Vegas event is aiming at revealing computer weaknesses and also finding a solution to them. Those interested in DEF CON are not only hackers, but also lawyers, journalists, students, security researchers, and many other enthusiasts in computer architecture. On top of that, federal agents from FBI, United States Postal Inspection Service, and DoD are always participating in these conventions.
This year’s edition focused on a sensitive topic for the United States. While officials are still debating whether the 2016 elections were fair and square or not, hackers gathered to test the limits of the technology that secures the voting procedures. However, they found numerous vulnerabilities that anybody could have taken advantage of.
All Attendees Were Allowed to Participate in the Hacking Voting Village by Cracking into Voting Machines
Over the weekend, organizers built a hacking voting village with 30 voting machines. Any attendee at the convention was able to take a seat and crack the system. There are numerous models still active nowadays. Only Advanced Voting Solutions or AVS retired several years ago. Numerous participants managed to hack AVS and other four types of machines as well.
For instance, a computer science professor at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, Carsten Schurman, penetrated firewalls in just one hour and a half. He took advantage of a 2003 Windows XP vulnerability that AVS never patched. Another person, Anne-Marie Hwang, is an intern for Synack yet managed to alter the vote records. She stated that it was a simple procedure which involved editing an Office file.
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