Researchers from the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois have developed a hack that, for about $26 and an 8th-grade science education, can remotely manipulate the electronic voting machines used by millions of voters all across the U.S.

In a video, Roger Johnston and Jon Warner from Argonne National Laboratory’s Vulnerability Assessment Team demonstrate three different ways an attacker could tamper with, and remotely take full control, of the e-voting machine simply by attaching what they call a piece of “alien electronics” into the machine’s circuitboard.

The electronic hacking tool consists of a $1.29 microprocessor and a circuit board that costs about $8. Together with the $15 remote control, which enabled the researchers to modify votes from up to a half-mile away, the whole hack runs about $26.

Two of the takeovers show the researchers controlling the buttons on the keypad despite what the “real” voter enters. But in what Warner called “probably the most relevant attack for vote tampering,” the researchers were able to blank the e-voting machine’s screen for a split-second after the “vote now” button was pressed. While the screen went dark, they remotely entered their own numbers into the DRE’s keypad.

 

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