It’s no secret that the upcoming election has inspired heightened concerns and emotions surrounding the possibility of tampering. Meddling — domestic and foreign — in the American voting system is top of mind for election officials and citizens alike, largely influenced by the revelation that Russia was found to have interfered in the 2016 presidential election. After the United States intelligence community’s top election security official recently speculated that Russia is taking steps to interfere in the 2020 election with the goal of helping President Donald Trump win, election security is on high alert.
Lack of Standardization, Growing Concern
With more than 100,000 polling locations throughout the country during any given election, and essentially no standardization between them, there is ample opportunity for improving the security of the system. Growing numbers of elections offices across the U.S. are now using electronic devices to sign voters in at the polls — a shift that has occurred with little scrutiny despite security concerns and a history of technology breakdowns that cause significant voting delays. But with so many polling locations, where does improvement even begin?
How to Prevent Election Interference and Hacking
For paper-based voting systems that use touch-screen technology and produce paper records for tabulation, integrating the contact board from Identiv’s SCR3310 v2.0 Smart Card Reader keeps election data and cast vote records secure, ensuring no data is stored on the device. Election security features provided by SCR3310 v2.0 include physical and system access controls, audit logs, system application controls, government-grade encryption, and hash validation and digital signatures.
Identiv’s convenient contactless smart card readers and boards are equally ideal secure voting solutions, providing government-grade identification that can easily be integrated at polling places across the country. uTrust 3700 F Contactless Smart Card Reader, uTrust 4701 F Dual Interface Smart Card Reader, uTrust 3500 F Contactless Smart Card Reader Board, and uTrust 4500 F Dual Interface Smart Card Reader Board combine contact, contactless, and radio frequency identification (RFID)/near field communication (NFC) technology, while supporting ISO/IEC 7816 and 13.56 MHz smart cards.
In all cases, voters need to authenticate and sign each voting transaction via smart card. Identiv’s dual-interface uTrust MD (Mini Driver) Smart Cards and uTrust SmartID Secure Access Credentials are Microsoft®-compatible, PKI digital signature-based credentials that provide trusted authentication, digital signatures, secure remote access, and data encryption.
While the government has reportedly taken steps to improve election security — such as addressing vulnerabilities exploited by the Russian hackers in 2016, like probing (and in some cases compromising) voter registration databases, phishing vendors who develop election management or voting software, and running covert information operations on social media platforms — it’s best to leave no stone unturned.
But authentication and encryption software is only part of the solution.
Smart card reader technology will not prevent a voting system from being hacked (this is virtually impossible); however, the right reader can make hacking pointless.