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Can Utah’s voting machines be hacked? Hackers say “Yes”

SALT LAKE CITY – Hackers in Salt Lake City are trying to see how election machines in Utah can be rigged to change the results.

People attending the HackWest Convention at the Salt Palace were given access to several of the kinds of voting machines used in Utah, and have been looking for weaknesses in the system over the last three days.

Disrupting the voting machines isn’t that hard.  One hacker named Travis showed KSL how to open a panel on the machine, unplug a component and you have access to the machine’s pre-configuration menu.

“You can disable the voting machine and, basically, render the election questionable,” Travis says.

Other methods of hacking need more prep work.  For example, Travis says people have been able to break into a machine, connect a device to the touch screen, and, “If you actually have physical access to the system and nobody is watching, you can pull it apart, insert a module [and with] Bluetooth from your phone, change the votes without anybody knowing, wirelessly,” Travis says.

Sure, this might be too difficult to do on election day at the polling location, but, Travis says people may be able to get to the machines before they’re used on Election Day.

“Who’s to say that the janitor’s closet hasn’t been compromised?  Who has access to the janitor’s closet?”

The people attending HackWest say they’re not doing this to figure out new ways to change election results.  They plan on publishing their results so the manufacturers of these machines can make improvements.