Lake v. Hobbs witness testified that he was ‘shocked’ at lack of cybersecurity in Maricopa County voting machines

2D9YH4F Close-up of 2020 mail in general election ballot for Maricopa County, Arizona, photographed in San Ramon, California, October 21, 2020. ()

Photo: Alamy

On Thursday, Arizona District Court Judge John J. Tuchi heard arguments by experts and attorneys in an election integrity case pitting plaintiffs GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and state Rep. Mark Finchem (R) against Democrat gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs and the Maricopa County and Pima County Board of Supervisors.

Lake and Finchem filed an injunction in April to prohibit the use of electronic voting machines in the state of Arizona ahead of the upcoming midterm elections.

RSBN previously reported that the plaintiffs in the case, Lake and Finchem, claimed a constitutional and statutory right to have ballots counted “accurately and transparently, so that the only legal votes determine the winners of each office contested in the Midterm Election.”

During Thursday’s hearing, cybersecurity expert Ben Cotton was brought to the stand to provide a deeper analysis of the vulnerabilities of the Dominion Voting Systems that were utilized during the 2020 presidential election. Arizona plans to use the same controversial machines in the upcoming midterm elections.

Cotton, whose firm CyFir subcontracted for Cyber Ninjas, testified that he was hired to complete the voting systems’ forensic analysis and forensic preservation in response to Arizona’s State Senate audit. “We were not provided with the proper authentication keys to get into the technician or administration functions of the ballot tabulators…,” Cotton stated.

He further told the court that Maricopa County did not control the authentication access, which he called “iButtons” or “tokens” that would permit access into the system. “The only people who had access…were Dominion employees who were onsite…,” he said.

Cotton also said he was “shocked with the lack of cybersecurity within the voting systems.” He added, “The average home computer is better protected than the EMS [Election Management Servers] and the client systems that were in the Maricopa County environment.”

Cotton additionally explained that most computers have a layered line of defense and that Maricopa’s voting machines relied primarily on an “airgap” system that he believed could be “bypassed in about 30 seconds.”

The cybersecurity expert also revealed that while he was examining voting machines in Maricopa, he discovered the following irregularities in 2021:

  • The antivirus had not been updated since Aug. 6, 2019,
  • The entire system utilized the same password for every single account on the domain,
  • The EMS server’s log only included information that dated back to February 2021, which was post-presidential election,
  • The security log was missing, which Cotton stated was an issue because it “actually records remote accesses to the system.”

Even more disturbingly, Cotton said, “I saw actual evidence of remote logins into the EMS systems.”

He contended that there were three such login attempts; the first included 462 instances in 2021 of a script run on the system to “check for a blank password.” A second instance, he said, ran the script over 34,000 times, and a third time saw the script run “300 and-some times.”

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