3. The whole system gets shut down - What would happen if no one could vote in the first place? It's not something that is completely out of the question!
Cybercriminals could use a systematically distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack to effectively disable some or all voting machines. It could be similar to the attack that shut down several major websites a few weeks ago.
They could even use specified computer coding to stop the back-end voting servers altogether. Citizens would line up to vote only to be turned away because of technical malfunctions.
4. Manipulating news organizations - Voting results have a specific path of getting to news organizations. Precincts report returns to regional centers, and from there the information gets sent to the Associated Press.
Hackers could interfere with results before being reported on a news channel, where they could proclaim the wrong candidate as the winner. Even if the reported results are unofficial, and the correct winner is later determined, people on the opposite side could cry foul play.
This scenario actually happened recently in Ukraine. Officials say hackers were attacking software to manipulate election outcomes. The attack was discovered just before the election results were set to be announced.
5. More personal dirt disclosed - It's no secret that politicians are excellent mudslingers. It feels like every other commercial around election season is one candidate bashing another. Hackers could take this dirt-digging practice one step further, though.
They could enter a candidate's personal smartphone, tablets, computer, email address or anything just as private from their campaign staff members. Who knows what they could find? Inappropriate use of funds, extramarital affairs, even dirty pictures!
They could use this information to bash candidates and change the public's opinion of them in the blink of an eye. This type of information is like a goldmine to manipulative cybercriminals.
There are other concerns with the upcoming election, but these are on the top of the watch list. We'll just have to wait to see how this plays out.