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Author Topic:   US Elections Are Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks
Chiroptera
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From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
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(6)
Message 1 of 17 (837328)
07-30-2018 12:07 PM


From the concern expressed by Republicans over the integrity of elections in the US, you'd think that they would have spent a lot of time and effort making sure that foreign or domestic hackers can't goose the upcoming elections, wouldn't you?

Ha ha ha, yeah, except that "electoral integrity" means "stopping people from voting for Democrats".

Snark aside, all states, even the blue ones, haven't done a whole lot to prepare against the type of hacking that was attempted in 2016.

From an article on Five Thirty Eight:

Hackers probed 21 state systems during the lead-up to the 2016 election and gained access to one. But the federal government and states don’t appear to have made great strides to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. To do so, they’d need to deal with not only their own cybersecurity deficits but also those of the private companies that help states administer elections.

According to the article, a serious vulnerability is with the private companies that manufacture the voting machines and produce their software and electronic polling books. There is little regulation that governs these companies especially in regards to their cyber security. As a result, most of these companies are very vulnerable to hacking.



Oh, God! Pride of Man, broken in the dust again! -- Quicksilver Messenger Service

  
Chiroptera
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Posts: 6531
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 2 of 17 (837428)
08-01-2018 10:57 AM


Facebook Still Battling Fake News
This isn't quite the same subject as the OP, but maybe it's close enough.

Facebook has deleted 32 accounts that it has determined are fake accounts intended to disrupt the upcoming elections.

The accounts have not been decisively linked to the Russians, but the techniques are very similar to those used by the Russia-linked group, the Internet Research Agency, that has been indicted for its alleged interference during the 2016 elections.

There have been attempts to hack into the campaigns of several Democratic candidates:

In recent weeks, there have been reports of other meddling, including a Daily Beast report that the office of Claire McCaskill of Missouri, one of the Senate’s most vulnerable Democrats up for re-election this fall, was unsuccessfully targeted by Russian hackers last year, which Ms. McCaskill confirmed. American intelligence officials have indicated that at least one other unnamed Democratic senator up for re-election has been targeted.

But posts have also appeared supporting causes associated with the Left, probably in an attempt to encourage divisions and disruption:

Among the campaign’s efforts was organizing support for a counterprotest to a conservative rally. Specifically, an account called Resisters, which interacted with one Internet Research Agency account in 2017, created an Aug. 10 event, “No Unite the Right 2 — DC,” to counter a planned white supremacist rally in Washington on Aug. 11 and 12 by the same group that organized the racist march in Charlottesville one year earlier.

(The counter protest is legitimate by the way, being organized by actual American activists. The point here is that these fake accounts appear to have a broad strategy to attempt to disrupt the elections.)

Also:

Activity was also detected around #AbolishICE, a left-wing campaign on social media that seeks to end the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

The point is that everyone should be skeptical of the "news" they get off their social media accounts, not only skeptical of the veracity of the information, but also who is actually disseminating the information and for what purpose. (In other words, be careful that you aren't being manipulated even if the information is true.)



Oh, God! Pride of Man, broken in the dust again! -- Quicksilver Messenger Service

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ringo
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Message 3 of 17 (837432)
08-01-2018 12:04 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Chiroptera
08-01-2018 10:57 AM


Re: Facebook Still Battling Fake News
The point is that everyone should be skeptical of the "news" they get off their social media accounts....

When I first heard that somebody was "tampering" with the news on Facebook, my reaction was, "There's news on Facebook?" I'm still baffled that anybody would get news from the Internet. After all, the Internet is full of people like Faith.

And our geese will blot out the sun.

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Taq
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(1)
Message 4 of 17 (837437)
08-01-2018 12:41 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by ringo
08-01-2018 12:04 PM


Re: Facebook Still Battling Fake News
ringo writes:

When I first heard that somebody was "tampering" with the news on Facebook, my reaction was, "There's news on Facebook?" I'm still baffled that anybody would get news from the Internet. After all, the Internet is full of people like Faith.

The real vulnerability isn't hardware or software, it's Americans themselves. As Fox News has shown, there is group of Americans who will believe anything if it fits their biases. They aren't interested in facts, truth, honesty, or morality. What they are interested in is having something bad to say about Democrats. That's it. This is what Putin figured out, and what he continues to take advantage of.


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jar
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Posts: 30934
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 5 of 17 (837439)
08-01-2018 1:06 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Taq
08-01-2018 12:41 PM


Re: Facebook Still Battling Fake News
Unfortunately it seems that in the US there is a large segment of the population that want to believe bad things about "THEM".

My Sister's Website: Rose Hill Studios     My Website: My Website

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Chiroptera
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Posts: 6531
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 6 of 17 (837445)
08-01-2018 4:08 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Taq
08-01-2018 12:41 PM


Re: Facebook Still Battling Fake News
...it's Americans themselves.

This is true. While I advocate for various reforms in the Constitutional structure of the US government, I also recognize that any reform will have a limited effect as long as the general US population remains as uninformed and under-educated as it is.

-

As Fox News has shown....

Your point here is also well-taken. Fox News has long been an important part of the echo chambers that the Right Wing has created for themselves.

But major media corporations take a lot of money to create and run, and they are highly visible. Fox News pretty much easy to identify as a "shit-stirrer" and easy to avoid if one wants has a good faith intention to be well-informed. That may be why there aren't any real equivalents to Fox News on the left side of the political spectrum. (Note to Right Wingers who might want to respond the last point: you may want to rebut this, but I'll warn you off the bat that the correct answers won't include CNN nor MNBC.)

On the other hand, the social media nonsense is a little harder to deal with. Social media seems to be the doorway through which it is easy and cheap to flood the "public square" with misinformation, irrelevant information, and one-sided exposures. Even the Left was being taken in by the Republicans' anti-Clinton talking points.

-

The real vulnerability isn't hardware or software, it's Americans themselves.

But I agree with your main point: it is pretty much hard to know what to do when 40% of the US voters will blindly continue to support Trump even as he covers the entire US with gasoline and sets it alight.



Oh, God! Pride of Man, broken in the dust again! -- Quicksilver Messenger Service

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NoNukes
Inactive Member


(5)
Message 7 of 17 (837446)
08-01-2018 4:15 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Taq
08-01-2018 12:41 PM


Re: Facebook Still Battling Fake News
As Fox News has shown, there is group of Americans who will believe anything if it fits their biases.

Honestly, this kind of confirmation bias applies to most of us. The tendency to believe what confirms what you "already know" is a very strong one that requires active self-examination and investigation to combat. Most folks don't even try.

Only a semi-scientific approach has any chance of getting the answer right. If instead you are used to accepting what you see on youtube videos and infomercials, you have zero hope of getting stuff right.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man. We've got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand. Neil Young, Rockin' in the Free World.

Worrying about the "browning of America" is not racism. -- Faith

I hate you all, you hate me -- Faith

No it is based on math I studied in sixth grade, just plain old addition, substraction and multiplication. -- ICANT


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Taq
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Posts: 7610
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 8 of 17 (837448)
08-01-2018 5:00 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Chiroptera
08-01-2018 4:08 PM


Re: Facebook Still Battling Fake News
Chiroptera writes:

That may be why there aren't any real equivalents to Fox News on the left side of the political spectrum. (Note to Right Wingers who might want to respond the last point: you may want to rebut this, but I'll warn you off the bat that the correct answers won't include CNN nor MNBC.)

That's my observation as well. As correctly noted by NoNukes, we are all susceptible to confirmation bias. However, there still seems to be a modicum of self awareness and skepticism on the left that has nearly disappeared from the right side of the political spectrum. Commentators on MSNBC and CNN still present facts and don't cook up completely unsupported conspiracy theories like those see at Fox News. If there was someone like Alex Jones on the left, he would be laughed out of town and wouldn't have near the support that Jones has.

But I agree with your main point: it is pretty much hard to know what to do when 40% of the US voters will blindly continue to support Trump even as he covers the entire US with gasoline and sets it alight.

Sometimes you have to let the child burn themselves on the hot stove before they will learn their lesson. The real question is whether Trump supporters have the ability to even detect when they have been burned. It could also be that Trump supporters are so taken in by their tribalism that they will go down with the ship instead of simply admitting the truth.


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Taq
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Posts: 7610
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 9 of 17 (837449)
08-01-2018 5:05 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by NoNukes
08-01-2018 4:15 PM


Re: Facebook Still Battling Fake News
NoNukes writes:

Honestly, this kind of confirmation bias applies to most of us. The tendency to believe what confirms what you "already know" is a very strong one that requires active self-examination and investigation to combat. Most folks don't even try.

Only a semi-scientific approach has any chance of getting the answer right. If instead you are used to accepting what you see on youtube videos and infomercials, you have zero hope of getting stuff right.

My mother is often my viewport into the right wing echo chamber. My recent favorite is her claim that the reason she rejects climate change is because she understands the science. She will also randomly trot out these completely outlandish conspiracy theories that I thought any reasonable person would see right through, but she believes them. There are times where I almost feel like asking my mom if she posts at EvC under the pseudonym "Faith".

Getting back to the topic . . . I have seen first hand how people are completely taken in by this obvious propoganda. It works. I don't know how, but it works. Sometimes my only response is to stay silent and try not to let my jaw hit the floor.


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jar
Member
Posts: 30934
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 10 of 17 (837451)
08-01-2018 5:15 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Taq
08-01-2018 5:05 PM


Re: Facebook Still Battling Fake News
"Reality TV" exists.

Nuff said.


My Sister's Website: Rose Hill Studios     My Website: My Website

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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6531
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 3.6


(3)
Message 11 of 17 (837487)
08-03-2018 3:25 PM


What are we doing about the problem?
How the U.S. Is Fighting Russian Election Interference

An article from the New York Times that summarizes what election officials and our intelligence agencies know about and are doing about Russian interference in the US elections.

LOL moment:

Mr. Coats has called not just on technology companies to boost protections but also to make sure Americans take steps to verify the information they consume. “It is essential that we all apply critical thinking to all sorts of information,” he said.

Yeah, as we can see here on EvC, that may be asking a bit too much from some people.



Oh, God! Pride of Man, broken in the dust again! -- Quicksilver Messenger Service

  
Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6531
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 12 of 17 (837498)
08-03-2018 7:52 PM


Marginally relevant: Qanon
From The Guardian:

QAnon: latest Trump-linked conspiracy theory gains steam at president's rallies

It doesn't sound so much like a conspiracy theory but as a D&D like universe in which you can create your own conspiracy theories.



Oh, God! Pride of Man, broken in the dust again! -- Quicksilver Messenger Service

  
jar
Member
Posts: 30934
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 13 of 17 (837500)
08-03-2018 8:09 PM


who needs cyber
When a significant portion of the potential voters are totally disconnected from reality and willfully embrace fantasy over reality as is evidenced by Trump supporters there is not much need to attack. Simply suggest and the light fantastic will gladly follow along.

Worked in 1922. Worked in 1933. Worked in 2016. No reason it should not work in the future.


My Sister's Website: Rose Hill Studios     My Website: My Website

  
Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6531
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 14 of 17 (841711)
10-20-2018 9:10 AM


More Russian interference
From The New York Times:

Justice Dept. Accuses Russians of Interfering in Midterm Elections

The Russians are still very active in their attempts to interfere in the US elections. This time around, though, they aren't favoring Trump or the Republicans.

But this time, prosecutors said the operatives appeared beholden to no particular candidate. Russia’s trolls did not limit themselves to either a liberal or conservative position, according to the complaint. They often wrote from diverging viewpoints on the same issue.

The goal is to sow division and discord, probably to undermine the legitimacy of the elections.

Remember kids, if you see "news" on your social media accounts, always fact check it against reliable sources before you accept it.

Even when the stories may be more or less accurate, an important goal for the trolls is to provoke people into counter-productive reactions, so check your own reactions, too.


We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe. -- John McCain

  
Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6531
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 3.6


(1)
Message 15 of 17 (842990)
11-11-2018 2:52 PM


Republican don't lose gracefully.
Never mind Russian interference in our elections, we seem to have plenty of Republican interference.

From the Guardian:

Florida recount: Rick Scott accuses opponent Bill Nelson of voter fraud

Florida governor Rick Scott accused Bill Nelson, his opponent in a brutally tight US Senate race now subject to a recount, of trying to steal the seat by committing voter fraud.

State elections and law enforcement officials say they have seen no evidence suggesting such allegations are true. Scott’s accusation appeared to be in keeping with a pattern of wild allegations about voter fraud used by Republicans, starting with Donald Trump, to contest election results they do not like.

'Course this isn't as blatant as Georgia's Brian Kemp's attempts at voter suppression:

Stacey Abrams condemns Brian Kemp after he accuses Democrats of voter ‘hack’


Hell hath no fury like a white man scorned. If you take nothing else from the Senate’s confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, take that much. -- Kai Wright

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