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The Demon Tattler

Another Dark Side of Election Politics: Hacking

Daniel Lowrey, Author

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In this era we call the Age of the Internet, hacking is a fear. Especially with suspicion of the Russians hacking the 2016 elections, who’s to say it can’t happen in the small town of Santa Fe, or anywhere else? When we consider the importance of the midterm elections that just passed, a hacked account on Messenger spamming your friends and family would seem to be the least of your worries.

According to the internet service provider Southwest Cyberport, in Albuquerque, “Anxiety hangs over the very electoral process. For the first time ever in the history of our democratic republic stands the question of widespread tampering by our enemies.” This makes people question, Is our vote safe from being tampered with?

The system is no less safe for hacking than it was in 2016 when the hacking claims were first made. Since then, tech giant have had problems. Facebook, for example, sold personal data to Cambridge Analytics without their customers’ permission in 2016, which was revealed in 2018. Facebook reluctantly tried to clean up their site by getting rid of 1 billion fake account after the elections, a process that took over six months. Facebook also claims they have built a team of 20,000 employees and an AI to track down fake accounts.

There is a global espionage malware program called CrossRAT that can survive a full hard-drive wipe and is undetected by any civilian virus software protection programs, according to Hacker News. It was created by a group called Dark Caracal, which is confirmed as engaging in global mobile espionage campaigns.

Dark Caracal was first discovered in 2012, but they could have been an organization longer than that; not a lot is known about them. The group targets campaign employees’ phones instead of their computer servers. Hacker News claims that Google developers groups are “likely… associated with or directly supporting the actors behind Dark Caracal.”

What does this mean for the health of our election system? Could other hacker groups like this one tamper with our country’s politics? And have they already? Legend has it that Benjamin Franklin was once asked by a woman, “What have you given us?” He responded, “A republic ma’am, if you can keep it.”

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Another Dark Side of Election Politics: Hacking