back to article Was IoT DDoS attack just a dry run for election day hijinks?

The distributed denial of service attack that took down DNS provider Dyn, and with it access to a chunk of the internet, was one of the largest such assaults seen. The attack exploited Internet of Things devices – notably webcams built by XiongMai Technologies. The gadgets had default login passwords that allowed them to be …

  1. Brian Miller

    Glad for no online voting

    Doesn't this make everyone glad that there's no online voting? The last time electronic voting machines were used in my area, they stored the tally on the machines, then collected them when voting was done. Now it's by paper ballots, mailed in.

    Imagine for a moment if there was online voting, and the national election system suffered a DDOS when the polls "opened."

    1. Ole Juul

      Re: Glad for no online voting

      Online voting is indeed a bad idea. Even as it is though, major well targeted DDoS on Tuesday could be pretty disruptive to the election.

      1. frank ly

        Re: Glad for no online voting

        I can remember a time when there was no internet and national elections operated well and were reported, almost live, on national television. What aspect of modern elections relies on internet functionality?

        1. Chika

          Re: Glad for no online voting

          What aspect of modern elections relies on internet functionality?

          Depends on the country. Here in the UK, the election itself is completely manual though the register of electors is often handled digitally and registration is increasingly available via the internet. I've heard rumblings of changes to all that though with more than one clueless non-techie insisting that putting the whole process on the net will make it "better".

          One-Button Syndrome* is alive and well.

          *One-Button Syndrome: An affliction of those with little or no exposure to technology that leads them to think that technology can solve any problem like magic. All it takes is the press of one button...

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Glad for no online voting

        Maybe not disruptive to the actual voting and tallying but the reporting to State level and to the media? There's been some speculation that the earlier attacks were testing for something really big by commentards here and other places on this. There's other possible targets besides the US election but disrupting this would be a big deal to whoever organized it.

    2. Christian Berger

      There is no way to do online voting in a democratic way.

      There is no way to have a system that's easy enough to be understood by everyone and involve computers. Once you have a computer, the average person has no chance of understanding it any more and therefore no chance of having informed trust in it.

      Pen and paper systems may be easy to fake, but they are also very easy to understand and check. Particularly if you hold elections on sunday or a public holiday, everyone has the chance to check that election... or even be involved in it by volunteering to run it. (you get a small amount of money for that)

      Usually pen and paper systems are also rather quick to count. In Germany the polls close at 18:00, and at 20:00 you already have the full result for the news.

  2. Christian Berger

    There is one error in that article

    The election is not actually important. No matter who wins, the people in the US and the rest of the world will loose.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: There is one error in that article

      But how badly?

      1. Eddy Ito

        Re: There is one error in that article

        So badly, you'll be pining for the days of Bush 2.0. Of course that assumes that one can tell the difference since there will still be troops and fighting in, near, and around Syria/Iraq, the world economy will continue to muddle along with spurts of tepid growth and periods of contraction, more refugees will flee the war torn regions in the Middle East and Africa, and some politically minded people will get disjointed because they didn't get their way. So pretty much same shite, different day regardless of whose monkey wins.

  3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    "The attack exploited Internet of Things devices..."

    I'm still hoping for attacks that will explode Internet of Things devices.

    1. Chika

      I'm still hoping for attacks that will explode Internet of Things devices.

      Have you spoken with anyone at Samsung about this?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What would it really accomplish?

    I suppose people relying on the internet to find out where their polling place is located would be affected, but it isn't going to take out voting machines which aren't internet connected. I don't know if it was still true, but back in 2012 they described the process most states use to upload local results to the state for tabulation and it was based on modems and in some cases even faxes. I doubt there's a whole lot of reliance on the internet, and where there is they probably have a backup method.

    I suppose having the internet "go down" during election day / election night could feed into the meme some are trying to spread about the election being rigged if they don't get the result they like...

    1. Tom Paine

      Re: What would it really accomplish?

      Given the unprecedented volume and amplitude of wingnuttery this time, knocking the Fox News website offline for a couple of hours would be enough to have a fair few good ol' boys reaching for the ammo and freaking out all over social media. The whole Trump phenomena is the result of the lack of widely trusted authoritative news outlets (they exist, but they're not trusted by a significant fraction of the population.) They're like a big flock of nervous pigeons. Pigeons with assault rifles. It wouldn't take much to get them freaking the feck out.

      "...with hilarious consequences!"

    2. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: What would it really accomplish?

      "I suppose having the internet "go down" during election day / election night could feed into the meme some are trying to spread about the election being rigged if they don't get the result they like..."

      Do not underestimate this.

      There won't be a civil war because of this election, not even if there's a cyber attack providing fuel for the FUD. However, there is currently a trend of distrust in democracy that, in the long run, can become a major problem, and a DDoS on election day would definitely not help.

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    IT Angle


    What a concoction of half-baked rumormongering, "industry" soundbites and dark mutterings.

    And then this:

    While Trump has encouraged Russian hackers to attack government systems

    No he didn't.

    Can we now talk about Hillary Clinton's evident link to satanism? 665 Gbps? More like 666 Gbps!

    1. Tom Paine

      Re: Groan

      Whassermatter -- don't you like a spot of lighthearted speculative doom-mongering clickbait every now and then?

  6. VinceH


    I'm confuzzled.

    Why does the picture for this article depict a cartoon-style Hilary Clinton and Sandy Toksvig looking as though they're about to kiss?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wish fulfillment?

      After all, Sandy Toksvig would be a huge improvement on Hillary. Or Donald, for that matter.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        At least give her her full title...

        ... DANE Sandy Toksvig

        1. FlossyThePig

          Re: At least give her her full title...

          Do you mean "Sandi" Toksvig OBE, British citizen?

          1. VinceH

            Re: At least give her her full title...

            I did indeed. Unfortunately, though, with the population of this country being what it is, I can't remember how to spell everybody's name...

            Which is why I looked up the spelling of her last name, and completely failed to notice the spelling of her first name. D'oh! Obvious icon is obvious.

  7. Duvelhedz

    Electronic Voting

    E-Voting is a terrible idea.

    Look how much it cost the Irish government when they tried to roll it out years ago. The machines were found to be woefully insecure

    Voting systems should never be online. At least the old fashioned X marks the spot cannot be manipulated en masse with people taking notice.

  8. Tubz

    So you have a choice, vote for a woman, whose families dealings have been described as organised crime and while in office, has been a complete failure and only cares about those with money and power and the tag 1st Woman Prez or a sexist, narcissistic, un-PC, slightly racist, short tempered but proven business brain, who wants to put the USA right. So glad in the UK we have a choice of woman wants to be a Mrs.T clone and unelectable bearded, weirdo muppet !

  9. one crazy media

    Election day Hijinks

    Voting machines are not connected to the Internet in most states in the US. These machines are palced temporary palces like school gym, churches, libraries and what not.

    Suppoes, one can break into the chip card, which pretty damn hard without some collusion.

    Stop spreading FUD and conspiracy theories.

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