COMMENTARY: Jake Braun — Serious cyberthreats to consider for Election Day

In the lead up to the 2020 general election, Jake Braun, Executive Director of at the University of Chicago’s Cyber Policy Initiative and author of “Democracy in Danger: How Hackers and Activists Exposed Fatal Flaws in the Election System,” offered commentary on the state of mail-in-voting, the possibilities of online voting, and election security.

In an interview with co-host of CyberHub Engage James Azar, and Synack co-founder Mark Kuhr, Braun said, “We need to bring together democratic countries to fight against [election interference] and publicly call it out so when this happens in France or Germany, all of the democratic countries in the world are calling out whoever’s doing it. When it’s happening to us, you’ve got the entire EU and the Japanese and South Koreans and Nigerians and Mexico saying its’ not OK.”

Read what Jake Braun had to say about his election security concerns with Synack here.

Braun also spoke with ABC 7 Chicago just days before the election to discuss changes in vote counting due to the high number of mail-in ballots that were to be received.

“For those watching to see if we are going to have problems… watch out for ransomware attacks, which we’ve already seen this year happen from Russian criminal organizations in places like Texas that lock down voter registration databases so we don’t know who voted and so on, and attacks on the websites that publish the results,” Braun said in regards to likely cyber interference.

Watch Jake’s appearance on ABC 7 Chicago.

Braun’s article in the Boston Review earlier this year (June 2020) was also cited by India Today for its discussion of election security vulnerabilities.

Boston Review has highlighted four key vulnerabilities: flawed infrastructure, organically generated conspiracies and public outcry, vulnerability to low-cost, unattributable system hacks, and susceptibility to trolls and bots. Altogether, these weaknesses jeopardize the integrity of the electoral system,” the article cites.

Read the India Today article and the original Boston Review article to understand the election threat landscape.