WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- The security of your vote could be at risk this election day. Those in charge of election security expect foreign governments to try to hack the election system and even your Facebook feed.
Digital saboteurs want to shake your faith in America’s elections, swing your vote, or potentially even steal it. In 2016, Foreign hackers found vulnerabilities in election systems – whether they will go even further this year and try to manipulate results is an open question.
“Cyber Security is like a race without a finish line,” said Sec. of State Jim Condos (D-VT), “we have to continually evolve, because we know the bad actors will also evolve.”
Condos – who also serves as the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State - oversees elections in the Green Mountains. He said his state’s digital defenses are as strong as possible. Paper ballots provide the ultimate fail safe.
“Nobody will be denied the right to cast a ballot on election day,” he said
But other areas of the country are considered more vulnerable. Digital-only voting machines are technically hackable, as are digitized voters lists.
Bad actors can also wreak election havoc by spreading lies and sowing division online. Federal investigators determined the Russians did just that in 2016 and experts said social media sites like Facebook will once again be a misinformation minefield in 2018.
“In one way, this is a much more difficult problem,” Pulitzer prize winning journalist Dana Priest said when asked how the social media threat compares to attacks on the election system itself.
She spent the last year digging into Facebook and its role in elections around the world for PBS Frontline. “it probably knows more about you than you know about yourself,” Priest said, “which can be used by political campaigns, or people with certain ideologies, to manipulate you in a way that you can be manipulated.”
Facebook is adding more than 10-thousand workers to manually purge fake accounts and fake news.
But Priest said, based on her reporting, it’s not enough – only a technological fix could handle a problem this big.