Hacklogged

Def Con security convention tests cybersecurity

If you’re worried about the increasing dangers of hacking, this event wasn’t for you.

An 11-year old boy hacked into an imitation voting system in Florida, the latest empirical evidence of the dangers of cybersecurity. In Florida, a state with specific experience in the frailty of ballot structure, a Def Con security convention was held last week.

Part of this peculiar event included a session where 35 children, spanning ages 6-17, were given a replica of Florida’s voting system and challenged to hack into it without nominal access.

The fastest was an 11-year old who achieved the goal in 10 minutes.

For the electromechanical industry, cybersecurity is a growing issue that has emerged with the integration of technology. Sessions at EASA, such as Nidec’s Chris Wideman speaking at the 2017 convention, have focused on gaining higher efficiency by implementing the Internet of Things to track, inventory, and even aid in repairing electric motors and numerous other devices. At that particular session, EA editors heard many of the questions fielded by Wideman. Most of them concerned the security of putting their companies’ data into the air, having everything quantified on computers, and an increased use of new technologies their technicians might not be familiar with. Many were skeptical. Others were intrigued, but questioned the risk. Almost all had to do with uncertainty as to the level of security.

Our industry is one thing. But it clearly doesn’t stop there. Utilities have been hit hard, too, and many maintenance and repair companies work closely with electrical suppliers. A web briefing from the Department of Homeland Security on July 25 said that Russian hackers infiltrated a number of utilities control rooms over at least the past year, and potentially dating back to 2014. This gave them access to vendor and provider information, as well as the ability to cause blackouts and disrupt service. And of course, we all know about the hazy circumstances when it comes to cybersecurity in regards to the United States’ voting system, following the 2016 presidential election. That particular brand of hacking is what Def Con’s test was designed to gauge. Now they have a realistic benchmark:

The boy was the quickest of the group, who all eventually hacked into copies of the websites of six swing states during the three-day Def Con security convention over the weekend, the event said on Twitter on Tuesday. The event was meant to test the strength of U.S. election infrastructure and details of the vulnerabilities would be passed onto the states, it added.

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