Sen. Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, has asked ES&S to explain by March 30th whether its voting machines or other products come equipped with a remote-access capability. Wyden's questions follow a report published by the New York Times Magazine last month, in which ES&S is described as having sold election-management systems with remote-access software preinstalled.
According to the report, titled "The Myth of the Hacker-Proof Voting Machine," ES&S had advised officials to install remote-access software so that the company's technicians could access the voting machines without being physically present.
For security reasons, election systems are supposed to be air-gapped, or isolated from unsecured networks, including the internet. The possibility that voting machines have been equipped with cellular modems and remote-access software significantly heightens the risk of sabotage—whether by foreign hackers or corrupt election officials.