Is the Path to Secure Elections Paved With Open Source Code?

Is the Path to Secure Elections Paved With Open Source Code?

By John P. Mello Jr.

Aug 8, 2017 5:00 AM PT


Increased use of open source software could fortify U.S. election system security, according to an op-ed published last week in The New York Times.

Former CIA head R. James Woolsey and Bash creator Brian J. Fox made their case for open source elections software after security researchers demonstrated how easy it was to crack some election machines in the Voting Machine Hacking Village staged at the recent DefCon hacking conference in Las Vegas.

“Despite its name, open-source software is less vulnerable to hacking than the secret, black box systems like those being used in polling places now,” Woolsey and Fox wrote.

“That’s because anyone can see how open-source systems operate,” they explained. “Bugs can be spotted and remedied, deterring those who would attempt attacks.”

Open source software has proven to be so reliable and secure that it’s being used by the U.S. Defense Department, NASA and the U.S. Air Force, noted Woolsey and Fox.

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