Tempe cybersecurity expert breaks down vulnerabilities in paper voting

Posted: Updated:
With midterm elections fast approaching, there is concern about election hacking in Arizona after received a "D" grade on election security. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) With midterm elections fast approaching, there is concern about election hacking in Arizona after received a "D" grade on election security. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The areas where the state failed is post-election auditing, ballot accounting and reconciliation and the paper absentee ballots. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The areas where the state failed is post-election auditing, ballot accounting and reconciliation and the paper absentee ballots. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Jason Pistillo, president and CEO of the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, where cybersecurity is a major focus, says he sees the biggest issue being the paper ballots. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Jason Pistillo, president and CEO of the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, where cybersecurity is a major focus, says he sees the biggest issue being the paper ballots. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The midterm elections are fast approaching and many of you will be casting your vote.

A recent report from the Center for American Progress gave Arizona a "D" grade when it comes to election security.

[SPECIAL SECTION: CBS 5 This Morning]

The areas where the state failed is post-election auditing, ballot accounting and reconciliation and the paper absentee ballots.

Jason Pistillo, president and CEO of the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, where cybersecurity is a major focus, says he sees the biggest issue being the paper ballots.

He says the biggest issue is being able to maintain authenticity, meaning that the information wasn't falsified, modified or forged.

[RELATED: Concerns raised over voting instructions ahead of Arizona's CD 8 special election]

"We're very paper-driven still. When I think about that, I think about how much less secure paper is than any sort of digital system where you have a built-in trail and kind of cookie crumb of what's occurred," Pistillo said. "People are so afraid that if we go to a purely digital format that it's more hackable, when it always has been easier to create fraudulent systems on pure paper."

Pistillo says its much easier to track things done digitally and there are excellent ways to authenticate who the person is that's voting with multiple layers of verification.

[READ MORE: Maricopa County's presidential preference election problems]

He believes its just a matter of time before Arizona goes the digital route.

The idea of conducting elections entirely via the internet is not something states are considering now or in the future.

Many states, however, do allow certain voters to submit their absentee ballots electronically.

Jason says the same thing goes for those of you using checks, instead of credit cards.

Pistillo says he only uses credit cards for transactions and never a debit card or a check because they're way easier to hack and take your money.

[RELATED: Election pamphlet blunder prompts calls for AZ Sec. of State to step down]

To keep yourself safe in the digital age, Pistillo says, you can do these very important things right now:

  1. Use strong passwords
  2. Have a security suite
  3. Use monitoring, like life lock
  4. Never give out your personal information to people via email or phone
  5. Use one card for online purchases, never a debit card.
  6. Do your software updates
  7. Back up your data
  8. Be aware of what you post on social media

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.