Critical Infrastructure Security, Threat Management

DDoS attack could disrupt voter turnout, report

The multiple denial-of-service attacks that shuttered the Dyn DNS service for a few hours on Oct. 21, knocking offline a number of major internet providers and services, set a precedent that could disrupt the presidential election next week, according to a report from Imperva Incapsula.

The report makes clear that owing to the dispersed setup of the balloting process it does not expect another attack of this magnitude to shut down the election, but rather that DDoS attacks could put people off from reaching their polling place.

"With voters from both major parties displaying record high apathy, such attacks could inconvenience them just enough that they decide to sit this one out," the report stated.

As an example, the report pointed to a scenario where websites of car-pooling facilitators are targeted by a DDoS attack, a small-scale service that likely could be silenced with an off-the-shelf DDoS-for-hire service.

Other possibilities the report cited involve assaults on websites that citizens use to verify where their polling stations are located or a DDoS attack targeting the online voting platforms used in five states.

“A DDoS attack targeting the portals would almost certainly block certain voters from casting their ballots, thereby potentially influencing the final outcome of the election,” claimed the security vendor.

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