Security Flaws Plague U.S. Presidential Election Apps

President Donald Trump Google Logo Twitter Profile Illustration Social Media AH March 28 2019
Advertisement
Advertisement

It has emerged that security flaws have plagued US Presidential election apps. As reported by Tech Radar these issues could put users data and privacy at risk.

The issue of security and big technology firms have already been at the center of this Presidential election. Facebook has launched a new election hub to make people more aware of registering to vote.

However, there have also been reports that Twitter has become more journalistic in the run-up to the election. How the next few months play out in this regard could be fascinating.

Advertisement

Security issues with campaign apps though are another worry. This could potentially harm the credibility of either candidate or the election as a whole.

Vote Joe app may be leaking sensitive information

It first emerged that the Vote Joe app may have leaked some sensitive information. This includes information about users political affiliations and past voting choices.

It also appears to have issues with email verification. It looks as if the iOS app failed to enforce this. Therefore, this means that non-US citizens could have signed up and accessed its data.

Advertisement

Users can use the Vote Joe app to promote the campaign to their contacts. They have the ability to send pre-typed promotional text messages.

In addition to this, users can also provide information about the users in their contacts to the app's creators. A study into this app found that anyone could potentially compromise the data harvested by creating false contacts.

Vote Joe app manages to rectify user data issues

The Vote Joe app contains publicly available voter registration records. These are corroborated with an intelligent service called Target Smart. This contains the contact and voting information of over 191m voters and 58m unregistered voting-age users.

Advertisement

The team that runs the app has been notified by the group the conducted the study. It told the app's creators of its security flaws at the beginning of September. Fortunately, developers could create a patch to fix the problems for the iOS version of the app.

The Vote Joe app is not the only campaign app to have security problems. An app created by the Trump campaign also faced similar problems.

This campaign was found to have been exposing hardcoded secret keys for Twitter and Google services. It also was discovered that the app collected a large amount of user data.

Advertisement

Apps are, in theory, a great way to reach voters and create more engagement. However, issues that both Presidential election apps have faced with security have the ability to undermine both campaigns.