Friday, September 16, 2016

"Prime Danger In Vote Hack: Sowing Doubt"

"Prime Danger of Vote Hack:  Sowing Doubt" is the title of a New York Times article by David Sanger and Charlie Savage.   What they say calms my fears of an actual tampering with the vote.   But it only amps up the fear that Donald Trump, if it looks as though he's going to lose, will again try to inject doubts about the results.  Here's what Sanger and Savage write:

"Russian hackers would not be able to change the outcome of the United States presidential election, the nation’s most senior intelligence and law enforcement officials have assured Congress and the White House in recent weeks.

"But disrupting it, they acknowledge, would be far easiercausing doubts in battleground states, prompting challenges to results and creating enough chaos to make Florida’s hanging chads seem like a quaint problem from the analog age. By some measures, in fact, the disruption has already begun.

"And meddling around the edges of an election could sow doubts about the legitimacy of the results — especially in a year in which the Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, has told his supporters that the only way he will lose is if the election is “rigged,” and while campaign officials for his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, have held a series of meetings about preparing for the possibility that the vote will be hacked. . . .  

"The systems most vulnerable to cyberattacks are large, centralized databases, where breaking into one part of the system can often give access to all of it. . . .  By contrast, the American voting system, with its hodgepodge of state and local polling places, is protected by being decentralized and disconnected. . . . 

"But the problem here is not really about manipulation. It’s about the damage you can do with disruption, so that people lose confidence in the system."

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The article goes into much more reassuring detail about voting machines, how the system works, and the cyber-security assistance the federal government is offering to the states.   What it doesn't do is to offer any suggestions of how to combat Trump's ability to sway large groups of his supporters into believing anything he says.  That's the real danger.


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