Microsoft and election security

NBC reports on two Microsoft announcements, summarized in this blog post.

The headline is that Microsoft is giving away free, open source ElectionGuard software to election machine suppliers.  According to the site, it apparently “enables” voting using a touchscreen for accessibility, with a printed voter-verifiable paper record of their votes, and an encrypted tracking code to enter into a website to confirm the vote was counted and not altered.  The devil is always in the details of election software, and I’ll be interested in learning more.

The subhead strikes me as at least as newsworthy: Microsoft has an AccountGuard system for detecting cyberattacks on political campaigns, parties, and democracy-focused NGOs, in 26 different countries.  Since AccountGuard debuted last August, Microsoft reports 781 nation-state attacks – largely from Iran, North Korea, and Russia – against organizations participating in the system, with 95% of the attacks targeting U.S.-based organizations.

And don’t forget, the most serious hack of the 2016 elections wasn’t a hack of the technology – it was a hack of the humans.


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