J. Alex Halderman

Recount 2016: A Security Audit of the Presidential Election


J. Alex Halderman is Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan and Director of Michigan’s Center for Computer Security and Society.  His interests include computer and network security, Internet security measurement, censorship resistance, and electronic voting, as well as the interaction of technology with politics and international affairs.  Named one of Popular Science’s “Brilliant 10” in 2015, his recent projects include ZMap, Let’s Encrypt, and TLS Logjam and DROWN vulnerabilities.


The 2016 U.S. presidential election was preceded by unprecedented politically motivated cyberattacks, and it produced a result that surprised many people in the U.S. and abroad.  Was it hacked?  To find out, I teamed up with security researchers and lawyers from around the country – and presidential candidate – to initiate the first presidential election recounts motivated primarily by computer security concerns.  In this talk, I will explain how the recounts took place, what we learned about the integrity of the election, and what needs to change to ensure that future elections are secure.  Computerized voting raises serious security risks, from voting machine viruses to state-level attacks that could remotely alter election outcomes.  At the same time, there are opportunities for technology — designed corrected and applied intelligently — to make elections more secure and efficient than ever.