MP3: http://podcast.c-span.org/podcast/WT20200205.mp3 (interview begins at 33:45)
Three decades ago, the internet was hit by its first major security attack. The world has never been the same since.
In many cases, private companies can do this much faster than the police. “A lot of law enforcement-based digital-forensics labs are just swamped,” said Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar, a professor of computer science at Purdue University. “Almost every type of crime—whether it’s homicide, arson, or a computer crime—is going to have some sort of digital evidence associated with it.” As a result, she says, the backlog of devices and data awaiting analysis at police labs can stretch from months to years.
It would be difficult and highly unlikely, but it’s certainly possible for computer hackers to change the outcome of next month’s presidential election, experts say.
The Purdue computer science professor, who focuses on cyber security, has a computer whose operating system and software he generally doesn’t bother to update, even though he sometimes uses it to access sensitive files. That’s because the computer isn’t connected to the internet, which is generally the source of most malware.
“Online voting sounds appealing because many people have access to the internet,” said Spafford. “But one problem with it is that we can’t trust it.”
Spafford cites programming as one of the main issues.