By Robert Hackett
November 5, 2016

When it comes to cyber-security and Tuesday’s election, “God protects idiots, children, and the United States.” That’s a variation of a quote by Bismarck put forth by former NASDAQ CISO Mark Graff at a recent event to defuse fears that the election will be swayed by cyber-attacks on US voting machines.

He has a point. While there is no shortage of stories (many of them pumped up by security consultants) about hacks on voting machines, the threat is mostly theoretical since the U.S. votes in such a heterogeneous way—different states and counties all have different machines and methods, including some paper only polls, that would make it very hard to pull off a large scale hack.

But more importantly, according to Graff, the 11 swing states that will decide the election do not use voting methods that can be compromised by hackers—such as voting machines with no paper trial. Meanwhile, at least 48 states have taken up an offer by Homeland Security for help in tightening up their cyber-security.

So breathe easy when it comes to the technical integrity of the country’s polling booths. Alas, that doesn’t mean the country’s political system is safe from cyber havoc—far from it.

If you want to worry, be wary of hacks on America’s media outlets—which are a likely election day target—and appear ill-prepared for a major cyber-attack. And more broadly, worry that those around you may succumb to dezinformatsiya, which is the Russians’ name for their system of trolls, lies, and weaponized information that seeks to confuse and discredit democracy.

But we trust our readers are smarter than that, and are people who cherish their opportunity—which those in Russia and China don’t have—to vote in democratic elections. So, if you’re American, go out there and do your civic duty on Tuesday.

Thanks as always for reading—as usual you’ll find some fun fintech nuggets and other tidbits below. Robert and I will be back next week when all this craziness is over.

Jeff Roberts


Welcome to the Cyber Saturday edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily tech newsletter. Fortune reporter Robert Hackett can be reached via Twitter, Cryptocat, Jabber (see OTR fingerprint on my, PGP encrypted email (see public key on my, Wickr, Signal, or however you (securely) prefer. Feedback welcome.


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