By November, Russian Hackers Could Target Voting Machines - Harvard - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

U.S. State Department

Op-Ed, The Washington Post

July 27, 2016

Author:Bruce Schneier, Research Fellow, Cyber Security Project

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Cyber Security Project; Science, Technology, and Public Policy


Russia was behind the hacks into the Democratic National Committee's computer network that led to the release of thousands of internal emails just before the party's convention began, U.S. intelligence agencies have reportedly concluded.

The FBI is investigating. WikiLeaks promises there is more data to come. The political nature of this cyberattack means that Democrats and Republicans are trying to spin this as much as possible. Even so, we have to accept that someone is attacking our nation's computer systems in an apparent attempt to influence a presidential election. This kind of cyberattack targets the very core of our democratic process. And it points to the possibility of an even worse problem in November — that our election systems and our voting machines could be vulnerable to a similar attack.

If the intelligence community has indeed ascertained that Russia is to blame, our government needs to decide what to do in response. This is difficult because the attacks are politically partisan, but it isessential. If foreign governments learn that they can influence our elections with impunity, this opens the door for future manipulations, both document thefts and dumps like this one that we see and more subtle manipulations that we don't see...

Continue reading:


For more information about this publication please contact the Cyber Security Project Director at 617-495-1343.

Full text of this publication is available at:

For Academic Citation:

Schneier, Bruce. "By November, Russian Hackers Could Target Voting Machines." The Washington Post, July 27, 2016.