Oct 2, 2018

Experts press DHS, EAC on wireless links in election machines

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Thirty cybersecurity, election security, and computer science experts sent a letter Tuesday to the Department of Homeland Security and the Election Assistance Commission requesting they discourage states from using wireless modems in their voting systems, according to the letter, which Axios obtained.

Why it matters: Many voting machines around the country are capable of using wireless cellular modems to transfer unofficial post-election results. Election officials say these modems operate on networks separate from the internet, but, according to the experts' letter, this is not always true and can leave the systems vulnerable.

The details: The letter was sent to Robert Kolasky, the director of the National Risk Management Center of the National Programs and Protectorate Center at DHS; EAC Chair Tom Hicks; and EAC Vice Chair Christy McCormick. The EAC confirmed receipt of the letter. DHS would not comment on the letter as a matter of policy.

What they're saying: "The convenience of transmitting vote totals online does not outweigh the need of the American people to be assured their votes will be accurately transmitted and counted," the experts write in the letter. "Importantly, cellular networks are typically beyond the security control of election officials and the federal government."

  • Signers hail from universities including Princeton and Harvard, as well as the Center for Democracy & Technology, OSET Institute, Common Cause, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Electronic Frontier Foundation, National Election Defense Coalition, and Protect Democracy.

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Cuomo: Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "really panicked people"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference Sunday that President Donald Trump's unexpected Saturday announcement of a possible "short-term" quarantine of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut to curb the spread of the coronavirus "really panicked people."

Why it matters: Though Trump ruled out the mandatory quarantine later that day, Cuomo said people still called "all night long" asking about the comments and many likely fled the New York area — possibly spreading the virus further.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 691,867 — Total deaths: 32,988 — Total recoveries: 146,613.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 125,433 — Total deaths: 2,201 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week.
  6. World updates: Italy reported 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Fauci suggests death toll could top 100,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN Sunday that models suggest COVID-19 will infect millions of Americans and could kill 100,000–200,000, though he stressed that the projections are "such a moving target."

The big picture: With more than 121,000 people infected, the U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy, per data from Johns Hopkins. A second wave of American cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, reported influxes of cases on Saturday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health