‘Why I bought a voting machine on eBay’

“Earlier this year, I attended a conference and was shocked to find that you could actually buy voting machines on eBay. So I bought one, two months ago, and have been able to open it up and look at the chips.”

Beatrice Atobatele is trying to hack one of the most commonly used voting machines in the US, to look for security vulnerabilities, but not with any criminal intentions.

Beatrice is actually one of more than 200 people who have signed up to a volunteer group of security experts and hackers called the Election Cyber Surge.

Beatrice Atobatele taking apart her voting machine to test it
Beatrice Atobatele taking apart her voting machine to test it

And by understanding how this machine works, she hopes she can ensure any vulnerabilities are fixed.

“I’ve bypassed the authentication itself,” she says.

“I’m still learning and trying to find any new vulnerabilities that might not be known about yet.”

Human error

The problem with US elections, Beatrice and others say, is how disjointed they are.

Most estimates suggest there are about 8,000 separate election jurisdictions.

The equipment and voting methods vary dramatically.

And every step of the process is vulnerable to hackers and human error.

Soccer-obsessed daughters

In the polling booth, there are many different systems, from direct-recording electronic voting machines to ballot-marking devices and paper-based systems.

And the more digitised and connected a system is, the higher the risk of some sort of cyber-interference.

Like all the volunteers, Beatrice’s research is conducted outside of her day job.

And as a keen footballer, and mother to two soccer-obsessed daughters in New York City, she has to fit the volunteering around a busy schedule.

Beatrice Atobatele fears hackers could disrupt the voting process
Beatrice Atobatele fears hackers could disrupt the voting process

She didn’t plan to get into cyber-security at all.

But 17 years ago, she lost more than $1,000 (£775) after hackers

Nikola’s Trevor Milton bought semi design from someone else: report

  • Two people familiar with the matter said Trevor Milton bought the Nikola One’s design from a designer at EV brand Rimac Automobili, according to the Financial Times.
  • This is despite Nikola saying Milton was responsible for initially designing the One “in his basement.”
  • Nikola is currently involved in a $2 billion lawsuit with Tesla, claiming that the Tesla Semi is “substantially” similar in design to the Nikola One.
  • Tesla’s rebuttal to the lawsuit claims the Rimac designer whom Milton bought the designs from called the truck project “Road Runner.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The story with the Nikola One, zero-emissions brand Nikola’s hydrogen-electric semitruck, was that embattled company founder Trevor Milton designed it in his basement. But a new report from the Financial Times suggests otherwise. 

Two sources with knowledge on the matter, who were not named by the Financial Times, said Milton bought the original design for the Nikola One from a designer who works at Croatian EV brand Rimac Automobili.

The sources told the outlet that Milton purchased the truck’s designs from Adriano Mudri in 2015 after they met during a visit to Rimac’s headquarters in Croatia, authors Claire Bushey, Peter Campbell, and Ortenca Aliaj wrote. The designs were part of Mudri’s “earlier diploma project.”

Mudri’s own LinkedIn page lists him as Rimac’s director of design at the time, and the Financial Times reported that Milton bought the virtual 3D model and computer drawings of the truck for “several thousand dollars.” 

The findings refute Nikola’s claim that Milton designed the One “in his basement,” made during a 2018 lawsuit against Tesla. In the ongoing $2 billion suit, Nikola alleged patent infringements against Tesla, saying that the Tesla Semi is “substantially” similar in design to the One, Reuters reported at the time. 

The Financial Times reported