If the election is hacked, we may never know

Even if someone figures out that the voting machine firmware has been changed, the votes may need to be tossed

Election 2016 teaser - A hacker pulls back the curtain on United States election data
Credit: Thinkstock

The upcoming U.S. presidential election can be rigged and sabotaged, and we might never even know it happened.

This Election Day voters in 10 states, or parts of them, will use touch-screen voting machines with no paper backup of an individual’s vote; some will have rewritable flash memory. If malware is inserted into these machines that’s smart enough to rewrite itself, votes can be erased or assigned to another candidate with little possibility of figuring out the actual vote.

In precincts where vote tallies raise suspicions, computer scientists will be called in the day after the election to conduct forensics. But even if a hack is suspected, or proven, it would likely be impossible to do anything about it.

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