Election Hacking by An 11 Year Old

Why Are Children Hacking Election Websites

At first glance, an article with the headline “An 11-year-old changed election results on a replica Florida state website in under 10 minutes,” could evoke a number of reactions from awe to consternation. Imagine someone so young having the ability to do far beyond what the average adult can do when it comes to computers. Dig a little deeper, and you might get a whole different perspective. It would probably have you questioning why children were hacking these sites in the first place.

First Things First

Let us lay the foundation first, shall we? The age of the hacker should not really come into play regarding overall brilliance since genius is genius at any age. A young boy named Kristoffer von Hassel at age five exposed security lapses in Microsoft’s Live XBOX system. Betsy Davies, a 7-year-old school girl, hacked into a computer, using a laptop at an open Wi-Fi hotspot, after watching an online tutorial. She then set up a rogue access point and hacked into the Wi-Fi hotspot in just over ten minutes.

In terms of genius, these kids have it and will continue to have it as they get older. They will probably be billionaires by the age of 25. The thing that is at stake, however, are their levels of maturity. They are brilliant kids, but they are just kids. What will these kids be like as adults? How will they use their talents and abilities over time? Moreover, what is the character of those who will mentor these kids as they develop?

A Horse is a Horse, Of Course

A kid is just a kid, regardless of brain power, but they are very vulnerable when it comes to social and philosophical maturity. Are they going to be good hackers or bad hackers? Are these kids going to be mentored by the dark sides of government, and private enterprise, who are interested in stealing thoughts and ideas, or will they be shaped into champions who will use their talents to help others improve their lives?

Take this a step further and compare two very charismatic individuals-- the Reverend Billy Graham and German Chancellor Adolf Hitler. Even if you are not a history buff, it should not be too hard to distinguish the good from the bad. Each of these men had the ability to inspire multitudes and create loyal followers. One used that ability to lead others to do good, while the other used it to inflict incredible pain on others for his personal gain. Just think what could be done to a young genius with the ability to hack into seemingly victimless sites.

An Unanswered Question

The events that took place in order to find these geniuses occurred in early August at Defcon 26 in Las Vegas. Defcon 26 is a hacking convention. The sponsor of the event was careful to note that the sites hacked were only replicas, and those replicas mirrored the sites that just reported the numbers, as opposed to sites that calculated the numbers. Fair enough, but there is another question that needs to be answered.

The focus of this hacking competition was all about Election Reporting. That begs the question of why, since the number one area that needs the most attention is banking websites, which are considered to be the most vulnerable. Given all the garbage we seem to see daily about President Donald Trump, as being something other than legitimately elected, could it be that the Defcon community is trying to help promote a losing argument by attempting to show that it was hacking that got him elected?

Five years ago an idea like that would have been and should have been dismissed, but today it is more likely reality than a theory. To the kid who successfully hacked the site, hats off to you for an impressive achievement. Just remember though, as you move forward in life be sure to study the differences between right and wrong, and then use the gift you have been given to make the right choice, for your sake and ours.

Ted Beagleman / Senior Contributor
I write political satire and biting commentary on social media. I have an eye for spotting the ridiculousness of Democrats and “never-Trumper” Republicans. I am a biker and American patriot who is ready for liberty and truth to prevail in America.
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