Cyber Round Up: Forge-Proof Authentication, Kazakhstan Encryption –> Coming to a Country Near You?, Hacking the Vote

  • Forge-Proof Authentication Method to Revolutionize Security (Homeland Security News Wire): According to this article, scientists have discovered a method to generate an unbreakable ID using next-generation nanomaterials.  The research, published in Nature’s Scientific Reports, indicates that nano-scale state-of-the-art quantum technology can be used to create devices that cannot be copied or cloned since the unique identity is stored at the atomic level, according to the article.  The article states that the technology can be integrated into existing chip-manufacturing processes, enabling cost-effective mass-production.  The full text of the article is here.

  • Kazakhstan’s New Encryption Law Could be a Preview of U.S. Policy (The Atlantic): Kazakhstan is rolling out a “national security certificate” that will allow the government to access all HTTPS-encrypted internet traffic, according to this article.  The article posits that this certificate will act as middleware, with all encrypted traffic into or out of a user’s machine routing through the certificate.  Consequently, the government will have the ability to block traffic to certain sites, and even to spoof sites and edit data-in-transit, according to the article.  The article states that although the U.S. government is also looking for ways to circumvent encryption, it is not likely to use a system as radical as Kazakhstan’s.  Let us hope not! The full article is here.
  • Foreigners Could Hack U.S. Elections, Experts Say (Who.What.Why.): Jimmy Chin writes in Who.What.Why. that experts have indicated that U.S. voting machines are vulnerable to attack.  The article breaks out the vulnerabilities into two categories:
  1. Weaknesses in Internet Voting (“iVoting”): since 2000, numerous computer and voting experts have published studies which warn about the vulnerabilities of iVoting. A report conducted at the request of the Pentagon (editor’s note: this report was drafted in 2004) noted that Internet and PC based voting systems presented “fundamental security problems.”  Despite the reports, iVoting is being used in over 30 states.
  2. Weaknesses in Electronic Voting (“eVoting”):  here the key vulnerability is the Election Management System (“EMS”) which is used to upload and tabulate the voting results from multiple voting machines into a single repository.  Some of the EMS systems are running on outdated hardware and software which opens the possibility for multiple attack vectors, exploiting widely-known vulnerabilities.

According to the article.  The article also indicates the likelihood that much of the software powering these voting machines could be outdated and may not even be supported — meanwhile vendors have refused to disclose how their machines run — claiming that the code is “proprietary”.  The author states that requests for comments were solicited from the three largest U.S. voting vendors: Electronic Systems & Software, Dominion Voting Systems, and Hart Intercivic — none of which responded.  The full article is here.

A similar article “Voting Machine Hack Proves Your Ballot Isn’t as Safe as You Think” appeared in the Daily Dot.  That article stated that eVoting machines were not secure and referenced a 2008 demonstration in which a Sequoia voting machine was hacked in seven minutes.  That article can be found here.


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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. She is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

Anna Maria Castillois 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography