Could EV’s be used to “hack” the 2020 election?

Guest “I hope so” by David Middleton

This is fracking hilarious…

POWER TRIP
How electric vehicles could be used to hack the 2020 election
By Justin Rohrlich December 11, 2019

When former CIA director James Woolsey said in 2017 that he was “confident the Russians will be back, and that they will take what they have learned last year to attempt to inflict even more damage in future elections,” he was referring primarily to cyberattacks against electronic voting machines and voter registration databases.

That same year, professor J. Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan testified before the US Senate Intelligence Committee that the results of simulated cyberattacks on American voting machines were decidedly bleak.

[…]

Now, according to Yury Dvorkin, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, there’s another possibility to worry about: electric cars.

A successful election attack doesn’t need to gain access to voting systems themselves. Dvorkin says plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and the charging stations that charge their batteries could enable large-scale cyberattacks on urban power grids. In a simulation he and his team conducted using Manhattan, Dvorkin found that it would take only 1,000 electric vehicles charging simultaneously to stage an attack on the city’s power grid, potentially blacking out entire sections of New York.

In the context of election security, Dvorkin told Quartz that such attacks could cause power outages in districts a political opponent might want to flip, making it impossible—or at least extremely difficult—for people who live within those boundaries to vote. Streetlights would be affected, causing traffic jams. Subways would be inoperable, and communications networks could go dark. Electronic voting machines would be useless without electricity, shutting down polling stations.

“Based on available statistics, urban populations tend to favor a certain political party,” Dvorkin said. “If on election day there is a blackout in the city, it means that this vote is going to be suppressed. And even if you take a fairly blue state such as New York, where people living in rural areas also often vote for a certain party, suppressing the urban vote may turn the state from blue to red.”

[…]

Quartz

The “I hope so” comment was sarcastic… But… Wouldn’t be a hoot if 1,000 greenies charging their Tesla’s in Manhattan flipped New York State from blue to red? It’s good to know that EV’s might actually serve a useful purpose.

86 thoughts on “Could EV’s be used to “hack” the 2020 election?

  1. A potential problem which may have been overlooked by the Greenies, and Cindy, in New Zealand. Reverse those colours and the future looks very attractive to this blue non-socialist! Strange that it is mainly the Lefties who are pushing the impractical EVs!

  2. I was a kid during McCarthyism–and there’s STILL a communist lurking behind every tree for millenials to be afraid of??–and all while promoting….communism??–because democracy can’t handle ‘climate change’? Can’t get another planet colonized soon enough, we’ve run out of Australias to send these loonies to.

    Wait…Antarctica…? Now that could solve two problems.

    (Please, no disrespect of Australia intended, just recounting history. And apologies to the penguins for suggesting such loon-acy.)

  3. So this is what Joe Biden was talking about when he recently said coal miners should learn to code (?).

    • Maybe they could retrain to become bitcoin miners ?

      Seriously, anyone concerned about election rigging should not be worried about who may gain control of voting machines in some hypothetical science-fiction fantasy, but those ACTUALLY control voting machines and why they even exist at all. You can’t recount a voting machine and there is no audit trail or post election verification.

      This is exactly the issue which Jill Stein was trying to get before the courts in 2016.

      Voting is like science, if you don’t have access to the data and there is no validation you have no reason to believe the claimed results.

      • In Florida, each County elects a Supervisor of Elections who over see the elections. Each County uses their own machines. In my County, we use OCR so the actual ballot submitted is keep in case of a recount. Now, I am not saying that these machines cannot be tampered with prior to being used. In the end we will all probably have to go back to paper ballots and hand counting.

        • The left coast State of Washington uses paper ballots and a mail out and return, either by mail or via a drop-off box. Almost all voters use this, although there are alternatives. Started in 2011. Colorado(2013) and Oregon (1998) vote by mail, also.

          Insofar as I know, in Washington there have not been problems.
          Very few EVs in most of the State, so who cares.

          • I’d think fake democratic paper ballots will be the biggest number of fra*dulent votes for the foreseeable future. There were documented trunk-loads of fake votes in DNC cars discovered in a number of states these past elections. Count on that practice to explode in the future.

  4. Perhaps they could just re-program the auto navigation to make it impossible for any EV to get close to a polling station.

    • “polling stations” if they exist and use the grid etc. etc.

      The issue was a blackout if too many EVs plugged in at the same time.
      They do not plug in to polling stations — whatever those are!
      See pervious comment about WA, OR, & CO.

  5. On a serious note we have become way to dependent on the internet.unless we have robust non digital back ups we are highly vulnerable to malicious private or state sponsored attacks that could disrupt our economy and destroy our way of life.

    A two day outage of communications and power and denial of basic services would tip us over into chaos.

    When even digital toasters and baby alarms could be used to attack us then we really need to revisit the direction we are heading
    tonyb

      • Mine might soften some too, but have alot of frozen water bottles in the freezer for alot of thermal inertia (and also in the frig section). Almost 2 days off couple yrs ago & my frozen dinners were just beginning to get soft.

  6. As I understand it, the charging stations have automatic limiter controlled by the grid. So if 1000 EVs are charging just prior to election peak at election day, the only risk is probably that some of the EV voters will not have enough charge to come to the election. Not really sure it would make huge difference on the election, but certainly an interesting thought.

    • I don’t think he’s talking about power draw, but as a data connection point of entry. The car gets connected to a compromised power station. The car gets infected. The car’s CPU then begins transmitting its nefarious commands.

      • From the Quartz article:

        In a recent working paper now going through the peer-review process, Dvorkin says most utilities treat PEVs and electric vehicle charging stations “as passive loads and do not proactively monitor their usage and cyber hygiene.” Charging station data is publicly available. An attacker could use that data to reconstruct specific grid layouts via project information and updates reported by the utilities themselves. They could then alter power loads in subtle ways relative to total system demand, which, theoretically, would not be noticeable to the system operator. “As a result, the cybersecurity community warns that PEVs and EVCSs can evolve as an attack vector into the power grid,” Dvorkin said.

        Researchers at Princeton University have raised similar concerns. Controlling 600,000 high-wattage devices would “give the adversary the ability to manipulate around 3,000 megawatts of power in an instant.” That’s equivalent to the output of a large nuclear power plant, they said. An overload this intense could lead to cascading power failures “potentially as disruptive as the Northeast blackout of 2003.”

        • That’s even more devious. You wouldn’t even know you were being attacked until everything failed.

    • 1000 EV’s charging at once is only 3000 amps, no bigger drain on the grid then 1000 households turning on the air conditioning at the same time which happens every day. Point is another bunch of malarkey. If you buy this crap will you take a look at my bridge I’m selling?

      • Nope. The UK grid (or any grid), would collapse if only 5% of cars were charging at the same time. The UK grid would need to be 80% LARGER capacity then now, and local grids would need to be massively upgraded.

        If all UK cars were EV, and only 5% charged at the same time, the grid would need an additional 40 Gw. It needs 53 now, in winter. So nearly an 80% increase. And that is at only 5%!

        https://www.woodmac.com/media-centre/12535131

        Why electric car charging may be problematic in the UK. Grid stress, and lack of off street parking. Note that each large fuel station would need to be replaced with a moderate sized power plant. And the tech needs to be developed for fast charging.

        http://fes.nationalgrid.com/media/1221/forecourt-thoughts-v10.pdf

  7. Makes me wonder, how many EVs can charge at the same time in CA without their grid collapsing? A lot of the country would enjoy seeing Hollywood go dark.

      • Oh, I see. Can it maybe be hacked in the same way “Mr. Tesla” gave Tesla owner more battery capacity or drainage capability during a hurricane disaster a few years ago?

    • jtom: It’s not the number of electric cars charging at the same time, it’s the ability to hack into the chargers so that they all start and stop charging simultaneously.

    • I like your proposal: linking charging of EV’s directly to wind turbine supplied power. That way there is no strain on the grid. Charging only happens while the wind blows. Greenies would go for it because they are sure sole dependence upon renewable power is possible and they want to divorce themselves from evil fossil power as soon as possible.

      SR

      • No if you mount little windmills on the car they charge while moving.
        Perpetual motion lives … now we patent it and sell it to lots of green investors.

    • The new VW software will tell them they are fully charged and go on their merry way. The Boeing software will tell them they are overcharging and they need to immediately discharge. The Google software will charge advertisers who want to sell votes or promote distracting activities during election day. And the FBI software will tell you what they are doing to disrupt the election from political moles directing special ops and foreign consulting groups.

  8. “Dvorkin told Quartz that such attacks could cause power outages in districts a political opponent might want to flip, making it impossible—or at least extremely difficult—for people who live within those boundaries to vote. Streetlights would be affected, causing traffic jams. Subways would be inoperable, and communications networks could go dark.”

    Last I heard, most of these systems are still analog systems comprising big copper and brass connections and switches.
    Replacing said infrastructure with digital electronics sounds wonderful, but is ultra expensive. Leaving theis digital connections as mostly reporting system add-ons.

    Wire based cable and telephone systems are digitally controlled, but not city power lines, subways or even older high rise buildings are analog systems with connections to allow digital reporting.

    I live in a neighborhood where power lines are buried, entirely surrounded by power lines strung on utility poles.
    When storms pass through causing trees to take out power lines, or a drunk driver takes out a utility pole the utility company is clueless about the fault. Until residents call or report online that their power is out.

    Last year when a winter storm took out power lines across the state, a repair crew fixed a fallen line just outside the neighborhood; then cleared the local power outage.
    Online, we looked like we had power when we did not.

    Entering a new power outage complaint made it look like we just lost power instead of the three days we’d been waiting already. A few neighbors spent time on the phone ringing Congressmen and the utility company to send a repair crew back to our area.

    Hack the utility company? Mostly nope.
    Hack the power grid? Mostly nope.
    It’s really hard to hack big heavy analog copper connections and switches.

    • My county uses electronic machines. However, the machines are isolated (“air-gapped” in IT parlance) from the internet. Vote totals for each machine are printed on paper and the paper is hand-delivered to the county for tabulation. Each year I act as a poll watcher and bring those vote totals for my ward to the party “headquarters” for an early read on the town results. You can bet that if our town totals looked very different when reported by the county later on, someone would raise holy heck.

    • “It’s really hard to hack big heavy analog copper connections and switches.”

      That depends. We had a copper thief here in Pensacola that managed to leave a nice handprint shaped scorch mark on the live transformer he was stealing from. Somehow… he managed to get away alive. Cops caught up with him when he sought medical treatment over in Alabama.

      • One idiot in Tucson AZ was found in a vault, he was mummified with wire cutter in hand, he had been missing for about six months. He was not as lucky as your guy Tweak.

    • You don’t need to hack the power company to bring it down. Unlike time-of-day power draw changes that are well predicted, switching 1000 plug-in cars off and on will sufficiently stress the generating system. It’s the intermittent load that will bring the grid down.

      • 1000 cars may cause a localized problem but should not stress the grid. The grid is megawatts and gigawatts. 1000 cars is only a fly on an elephants behind to the grid. Start playing mutiples of 1000 then it could get interesting.

  9. Not sure but don’t forget to use Chinese chipsets, cameras, phones, and networking gear. And remember to issue statements in support of Taiwan, Hong Kong protesters, Tibet, South China Sea, and the million odd Muslim detainees in western China a few weeks before the election so we can get a good test of everything. Throw in some statements on Crimea and Ukraine for good measure.

  10. The concept did not sound plausible when it was first suggested in 2017 (without the election spin).

    A more interesting idea would be to hack the cars so that EV owners cannot get to the polling stations, that should significantly raise the average IQ of the voters.

  11. Just in case, there is a Tesla message management team and set of statements prepared to deflect this too.

    They are in communication with Martians don’t ya know.

  12. I say what. Let’s organize elections to take place on a single day. No more collecting “absentee” ballots for a year; and especially no more harvesting votes for weeks afterward. If boxes of ballots are found in warehouses, or in the truck of cars of party workers — throw them out uncounted and have the workers responsible lose civil liberties (i.e. voting privilege) for a while. Make everyone mark paper ballots. If there are mistakes on paper ballots, or recounts don’t match, too bad.

  13. I say what. Let’s organize elections to take place on a single day. No more collecting “absentee” ballots for a year; and especially no more harvesting votes for weeks afterward. If boxes of ballots are found in warehouses, or in the truck of cars of party workers — throw them out uncounted and have the workers responsible lose civil liberties (i.e. voting privilege) for a while. Make everyone mark paper ballots. If there are mistakes on paper ballots, or recounts don’t match, too bad.

    • Damn right ! Electronic voting machines are the greatest threat to a fair election, not electric vehicles or washing machines.

  14. California’s High Speed train from Fresno to Bakersfield is to be electric. It will be fun watching Cal try to run that on their unreliable, expensive renewable-sourced electricity. That is if they actually ever get even one segment built, which is highly questionable.

  15. Charging electric vehicles will probably affect as many votes in 2020 as the Russian bots did in 2016: not enough to make a difference.

    But if enough political ads are made showing AOC describing her Green New Deal and its cost, it’s surefire way to re-elect President Trump and have Republicans re-take the House.

  16. If no one can vote because of a power outage how is it possible to have a winning candidate and change the incumbent party?

    • David Chappell: Because there is excellent correlation between red/blue voting and local population density. Rural areas vote Republican and cities typically vote Democrat. By crashing the power to select counties, you skew the number of votes reported.

  17. Dvorkin found that it would take only 1,000 electric vehicles charging simultaneously to stage an attack on the city’s power grid, potentially blacking out entire sections of New York.

    😐 That’s crazy, could the same be done in other cities??

  18. Well, at least if a 1000 Teslas with Russian plates turn up in Manhattan on election day we’ll have some concrete evidence of “Russian interference”.

  19. When I read the headline, I thought of crazed Greenie EV drivers crashing their vehicles into polling stations in selected districts to disrupt voting. Just charging up would be a lot simpler.

  20. You don’t need EV’s to hack an election. In a newscast broadcast across Canada on Oct 17, 2019, 4 days before the Canadian Federal election, ex-US president Obama encouraged Canadians to vote for “his friend” Justin Trudeau for Prime Minister, one of the worst election interferences ever.

    • Just prior to the first Brexit vote, Obama warned the British that if they voted to leave the EU, they would no longer be able to trade with the US.
      He also tried to interfere with an Israeli election.

    • This is a common error in thinking Bruce. You don’t have to be “so Trumpy” to despise what the democratic party has become.

      I don’t like the guy at all. I follow his policies and agree with some, some not.

    • You don’t seem to recognize ridicule when you see it.

      Regardless, I’m with phil, it’s not so much that I like Trump as I despise the Democrats.

    • Bruce January 6, 2020 at 2:03 pm

      Has this site gone so Trumpy that it WANTS US elections hacked?
      ____________________________________

      Bruce, this side shows how NY desperately works to get US elections hackable. Ever since. More.

  21. Re. voting and electronic systems I recall the mess in the BUSH – Al Gore election. . where a mark on a paper was not considered good enough to register a vote.

    I recall Joseph Stalin saying words to the effect ” It does not matter how many persons vote, it does matter who counts the votes””

    Keep it simple stupid comes to mind. Here in Australia we are Oh so Old Fashioned in that we still use a bit of paper and a pencil. Seems to work very well and it only takes a few hours to count them. More important the data ie the papers are still there in case there is a query such as a very close result which is resolved by simply having a recount.

    Regarding Cyber crime or political hacking, just put a human between the data coming in or out and the problem is solved.

    MJE VK5ELL

    • Actually, it sometimes takes days to count them, and sort out the preferences. I’m sure Diebold could make machines that would manage the business in a matter of minutes, and decide what we really preferred rather than what we said we preferred.

    • “where a mark on a paper was not considered good enough to register a vote. ”

      It was not a mark on a piece of paper. The ballots used a punch out system where your vote was recorded by the machine by punching out a small tab indicating who you were voting for. The problem arose when there were not complete punch outs on many ballots, thus producing the infamous “hanging chads”. Those reviewing the ballots tried to determine if the partial punch out was an error or the intent of the voter.

  22. This is really EXCEPTIONALLY silly. A Tesla home wall charger runs at maybe 11 kw. Other wall chargers are in the 3- 6 kW range. You could achieve a similar effect by a synchronised switching on of electric cookers or tankless water heaters

    • Or just use the smart plugs.
      Give a couple f thousand away and hack them.
      Or just hack all the smart plugs any way.
      Or load couple of thousand smart plug with 3kw loads.
      At hidden locations, Utility cupboards, tunnels, offices.
      The 3kw loads only need to be transient, last 1min or so, possibly small and solid.
      I do not advocate any body doing this, as It may possibly work. Who knows?

    • Nice attempt at misdirections. They weren’t talking about home units. They are talking about massed super chargers at commercial charging stations.

      • Mark W: Not misdirecting anyone: it didn’t specify fast or slow chargers. The number of public fast charging stations is limited and their power draw controlled by third parties

    • Even if the attack only affected home chargers, 11 KW times 1000 cars is 11 MW. Switching the cars off and on simultaneously will put an 11 MW load intermittently on the local grid. The power company would need to follow that….. or not.

  23. I think the bigger question is if 1000 EVs can hack an election, what will happen on a daily basis when we are all forced to drive EVs?

    • Hopefully only Russia wants to interfere and only during elections.

      No other country would even want to hurt US economy, ever.

  24. Really digging deep to find a way to fault EVs. Interesting scenario. We could only wish.

  25. OT sort of. Down here on the south side of Daytona Beach. SpaceX Falcon 9 launch in 25 minutes to put 60 more pieces of space junk up. Should be able to get a decent view of the launch from here.

  26. From the posted article:

    “Based on available statistics, urban populations tend to favor a certain political party,” Dvorkin said. “If on election day there is a blackout in the city, it means that this vote is going to be suppressed. ”

    It had always amazed me that all this “the Russian are hacking our elections” is based on the Russians wanting to help the Republicans. Why would they want to do that? It would be much better for Russia’s ambitions in the Democrats were in the White House.

    • Regardless which party wins, the Russians are having a good time just sowing turmoil. BTW, I agree with you; if the Russians cared who won an election, they would probably prefer to have Democrats in office in the USA.

      • The anti Putin crowd crowned him as the controller of all things in US politics, the one and only person who would know decades ago that Donald Trump was electable, whereas US pundits couldn’t see that a few weeks before the election.

        And they still don’t see the problem here.

    • Essentially, it’s an Emotional Support Idea (like Emotional Support Animals): the people who designed the sanctions against Russia need to preserve their (possibly non existent) belief (but then they can believe that they believe it, even though they clearly can’t truly believe any of it) that what Putin cares the most in life is to lift those sanctions, so his entire worldview should be shaped by the issue of who supported sanctions and who opposed sanctions.

      The idea that sanctions hurt French farmers a lot more than they hurt Putin is simply unmanageable for these people; so is the idea that Russia is now stronger with a more diverse economy thanks to those sanctions, the idea that market lost by European countries are lost forever, the idea that the honor of those countries (who folded to support an American idea of sanctions that America did not even impose on itself, to support America that they hate no matter what) is lost for even longer. These European countries supported that unfounded American dictate, for a silly gesture of blocking those evil Russians access to French pork, but their leaders and “intellectuals” consider very insulting the idea that they should be required to pay their fair share in NATO.

      But anti Russia propaganda in Western Europe failed, especially in France where there is no more miserable failure of propaganda known since at least the H1N1 hoax. That’s why Macron is backtracking on anti Russia xenophobia (while the parties that support Macron insist that Russia is interfering in French politics).

  27. Does anybody have a “Russian” source that the Russian government was trying to influence the 2016 elections? We have a lot of people in our intelligence services that say that. Are these people in our intelligence services the same ones that facilitated spying on the Trump campaign in 2016?

  28. “The “I hope so” comment was sarcastic… But…”:

    NY can even better – Your Gas Stove Is Bad for You and the Planet – The New York Times

    https://www.google.com/search?q=NY+gas+stoves+vs.+electric+stoves&oq=NY+gas+stoves+vs.+electric+stoves+&aqs=chrome.

    Imagehttps://www.nytimes.com › clim…
    Opinion | Your Gas Stove Is Bad for You and the Planet – The New York Times

    NY gas stoves vs. electric stoves von http://www.nytimes.com

    01.05.2019

    · Induction cooktops, running on electricity, are superior to gas stoves. These devices use magnetic waves to …

    ____________________________________

    sarc along.

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