In advance of the 2020 Presidential Election, Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Elections takes a deep dive into the weaknesses of today’s election technology, an issue that is little understood by the public or even lawmakers.
From directors Simon Ardizzone, Russell Michaels and Sarah Teale, the team behind HBO’s 2006 Emmy-nominated documentary Hacking Democracy, Kill Chain again follows Finnish hacker and cyber security expert Harri Hursti as he travels across the U.S. and around the world to show how our election systems remain unprotected, with very little accountability or transparency. Hursti’s eye-opening journey is supplemented by candid interviews with key figures in the election security community, as well as cyber experts and U.S. senators from both parties who are fighting to secure the integrity of the vote before November 2020.
As the film shows, individuals, foreign states and other bad actors can employ a myriad of techniques to gain access to voting systems at any stage – from voter registration databases to actual election results.
Through this lens, seemingly unrelated or uncoordinated security breaches of the recent past can be seen as part of a “kill chain” – a military doctrine to plot meticulous, long-game attacks, understanding that breaking down trust in voting results is the surest way to undermine democracy. As enlightening as it is disturbing, Kill Chain underscores the fragility of our election process and points to the clear solutions available to protect us against sabotage.
Follow HBO Docs
Dive Deeper with Bonus Footage
At a conference dedicated to hacking, we see how tamper-evident seals on voting machines can be tampered with.
Rachel Tobac, CEO of Social Proof Security, shows how easy it can be to get unwitting people to install malware onto their own computers.
Forensic Investigator Will Baggett analyzes the contents of several voting machines in 2018, finding ways that a third party could access or change the voting data.
Data security expert Harri Hursti talks to malware specialist Emerson Tan about CyberZeists’ testimony and the not-so-underground market of blackhat hackers.
More Documentaries to Explore
Get HBO Max at No Additional Cost
If you’re a current HBO subscriber, you might already have access to HBO Max — all of HBO plus even more blockbuster movies, must-see series, and new Max Originals.