Was This Poker Player’s Luck Too Good to Be True?

Two professional poker players face off at a casino in suburban Sacramento. One is a round-faced local dude with a baseball cap pulled down to his eyebrows. The other is a glamorous young sharp from Las Vegas who moonlights as an actress and model.

A single hand that Mike Postle and Marle Cordeiro played that night—September 21, 2019—turned into a controversy that roiled the insular poker world, generating multiple lawsuits, and raising questions about honesty, loyalty, and the unwritten rules of modern poker.

The game was livestreamed to a modest audience of gambling fans, a broadcast that was cohosted by a Sacramento player named Veronica Brill. She had been watching Postle tear through all comers at Stone’s Gambling Hall for months, and Brill had come to believe that Postle’s luck was too good to be real. He often made unorthodox choices as the play unfolded, choices that the prevailing theory of high-end poker considered wrong or stupid or at least suboptimal. And yet he kept winning.

In Brill’s mind, the possibility had to be considered: Was Postle cheating? As she watched him make yet another strange decision against Cordeiro that night, Brill couldn’t hold her tongue. “It doesn’t make sense,” she told the livestream audience. “It’s like he knows. It doesn’t make sense. It’s weird.”

Writer Brendan Koerner became obsessed with this story, not because it provided neat lessons about right and wrong, cheating and honesty, but precisely because it revealed how the real lives of people like Postle and Brill can collide in unexpected and utterly ambiguous ways. Was Postle cheating? If so, how was he pulling it off? Or did Brill have something against him? In this week’s Get WIRED podcast we explore these questions and take a few side trips to learn about RFID chips, poker law, and old Westerns.

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Google Is Testing End-to-End Encryption in Android Messages

Google has begun rolling out end-to-end encryption for Rich Communication Service, the text-messaging standard the industry giant is pushing as an alternative to SMS.

ARS TECHNICA

This story originally appeared on Ars Technica, a trusted source for technology news, tech policy analysis, reviews, and more. Ars is owned by WIRED’s parent company, Condé Nast.

Abbreviated as RCS, Rich Communication Service provides a, well, richer user experience than the ancient SMS standard. Typing indicators, presence information, location sharing, longer messages, and better media support are key selling points. They lead to things like better-quality photos and videos, chat over Wi-Fi, knowing when a message is read, sharing reactions, and better capabilities for group chats. As Ars reviews editor Ron Amadeo noted last year, RCS interest from carriers has been tepid, so Google has been rolling it out with limited support.

Google said on Thursday that it has now completed its worldwide rollout of RCS and is moving to a new phase—end-to-end encryption. Interest in end-to-end encryption has mushroomed over the past decade, particularly with revelations from Edward Snowden of indiscriminate spying on electronic communications by the NSA.

End-to-end encryption is the antidote to such snooping. It uses strong cryptography to encrypt messages with a key that’s unique to each user. Because the key is in sole possession of each user, end-to-end encryption prevents everyone else—including the app maker, ISP, or carrier, and three-letter agencies—from reading a message. Messaging apps that currently provide E2EE include Signal, WhatsApp, and iMessage, to name just three.

Google wants to join that club. For now, E2EE will be available only to people using the beta version of the Android Messages app. And even then, E2EE will work only for one-to-one messages between people using the Google app, and both senders and receivers will have to turn on chat features. The rollout will continue into next year. Google has provided technical details here. Among other things, the technical paper reveals that E2EE messages will be generated using the Signal protocol.

In 2016, Google introduced its Allo messaging app. It, too, offered E2EE, but only when users dug into a settings menu and turned it on. Two years later, Google killed it. This time with RCS, Google said, “eligible conversations will automatically upgrade to be end-to-end encrypted.”

This story originally appeared on Ars Technica.


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Secret Service Investigates 700 Cases of Covid Relief Fraud

America’s electoral crisis reached a new low this week, as Donald Trump fired Christopher Krebs, the widely respected director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. The reason? Krebs had dared point out, both through CISA and his personal Twitter account, that the election misinformation being spread by the president and his enablers was patently untrue. (This is also probably a good time to remember that Trump can still launch nuclear weapons any time he wants and no one can stop him.)

While Apple’s M1 chip has deservedly grabbed more attention this week, Microsoft is also moving deeper into the silicon mix. Its Pluton security processor will work as part of a system-on-chip for Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm hardware, adding a layer of Windows security and eliminating an increasingly popular avenue of attack for hackers. Elsewhere, ad-blocking company Ghostery is adding a layer of privacy to search, launching its own browser and search engine tool in the coming months that promise an ad-free, untracked existence online.

Cheaters never prosper, unless they’re playing Among Us. One security researcher demonstrated this week that the viral smash has a big ol’ pile of vulnerabilities that could let a hacker kill in-game players at will, walk through walls, and more. In a more serious lack of security, encrypted chat app Telegram still hasn’t done enough to quash an AI bot that generates nonconsensual deep fake porn on the platform.

Facebook, at least, managed to fix a bug that would have let hackers listen in to the other end of a Messenger call before the person picked up. And remember that there are simple steps you can take—and advice you can give—to keep your family safe online this holiday season.

And there’s more! Every Saturday we round up the security and privacy stories that we didn’t break or report on in depth but think you should know about. Click on the headlines to read them, and stay safe out there.

Covid-19 scams have been around for as long as the novel coronavirus itself. Even ISIS has gotten in on the grift. But the degree to which fraud has allegedly permeated the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program and the Unemployment Insurance Relief program is still staggering. The Secret Service is apparently investigating 700 cases related to that category of theft, and the Justice Department has already charged 80 people with attempting to scam $240 million from the PPP program.

Go SMS Pro has been installed more than 100 million times. Unfortunately, it also has a security lapse that exposes photos, videos, and more that its users send. The app creates a sequential web address for each file that bounces through its servers, which means anyone can view those files at random. Not ideal! As of Thursday, the developer still hadn’t fixed the problem, despite being given a standard 90-day disclosure window by security firm Trustwave, which identified the issue.

Ransomware has gotten significantly more devious this year, but it’s also gotten significantly bigger. Security firm Intel 471 took the time to lay out the 25 Ransomware-as-a-Service gangs that rent their product out to other criminals, allowing pretty much anyone to try their hand at sowing online destruction. Not only that, it broke them down into tiers based on how sophisticated the groups are and what range of features they offer their clients.

For years, shadowy companies have been buying and selling your location data based on what apps you use. This week, Motherboard showed just how far that practice extends, reporting that the US military and its contractors have relationships with companies like Babel Street and X-Mode that siphon location data from countless apps. That includes an app called Muslim Pro, whose 98 million users rely on it for prayer notifications and orientation toward Mecca.


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A Facebook Messenger Flaw Could Have Let Hackers Listen In

It’s been almost a decade since Facebook started offering researchers cash rewards for finding and disclosing vulnerabilities in the company’s platforms. Those same 10 years have proved both the social network’s popularity and serious pitfalls, as its privacy and misinformation-related failures have impacted geopolitics around the world. But the bug bounty program, at least, has consistently been a bright spot, this year paying out two of its three largest rewards ever—including $60,000 for a bug in Messenger that could have allowed an attacker to call you and start listening to your end before you picked up.

Discovered by Natalie Silvanovich of Google’s Project Zero bug hunting team, the vulnerability, which is now patched, could have been exploited on Messenger for Android if an attacker simultaneously called a target and sent them a specially crafted, invisible message to trigger the attack. From there, the hacker would start hearing audio from the victim’s end of the call, even if they didn’t answer, for however long it rang. The bug bears some similarities to one Apple scrambled to patch last year in FaceTime group calls.

“What you would see is the attacker calling you and then the phone ringing and they could listen until you pick up or the call times out,” says Dan Gurfinkel, Facebook’s security engineering manager. “We quickly patched this before it was exploited.”

The vulnerability would have been difficult to exploit in practice for a few reasons. It required that both the attacker and target be logged into Facebook for Android and that the victim also be logged into Messenger in a web browser or some other way. Unlike the FaceTime bug, which a regular user could have exploited, an attacker here would have needed technical reverse-engineering tools to send the special second message. The caller and recipient would also need to be Facebook “friends” for the attack to work, which limits its utility versus being able to call anyone out of the blue. Still, given that Facebook now has more than 2.7 billion active users, it’s possible to find a population of targets that meet almost any parameters.

“After a similar bug was reported in FaceTime last year, I started investigating whether this type of vulnerability existed in other video conferencing applications,” Project Zero’s Silvanovich says. “So far, four bugs have been fixed as a result in Signal, Mocha, JioChat, as well as Facebook Messenger. And I’m still researching other applications.”

Rather than needing to issue a patch in the mobile app, Facebook was able to adjust its own server-side infrastructure to instantly fix the flaw for all users. And the company was able to determine with some certainty that the bug had never been exploited, because no logs contained evidence of the strategic protocol messages attackers would need to send.

Due to the nature of Project Zero’s work, Silvanovich says she would have disclosed the flaw to Facebook whether they were offering bug bounty rewards or not.

Regardless of a participant’s motivations, though, Facebook’s bug bounty offers the highest reward possible for the level of severity—even if the original submission would have only netted a small prize. For example, the program this year awarded $80,000, its highest payout to date, for a submission that itself would have been worth about $500, but led the company’s own security researchers to find a more significant flaw. The vulnerability in Facebook’s “content delivery network,” part of the company’s internal infrastructure for serving data, originally seemed minor. But it hinted at a deeper issue in which some of the system’s URLs remained accessible after they were programmed to expire, creating a potential opening for remote code execution, or remote control, of the CDN. The issue has been fully patched and Gurfinkel says there is no sign it was ever exploited, but bug bounty participant Selamet Hariyanto, a first-time awardee, got an unexpected windfall from a seemingly simple finding.

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Ghostery’s Making a Privacy Browser—and Ad-Free Search Engine

A bleak outlook. But Ghostery has taken a different route. Rather than rolling out its own search engine or browser, it will instead layer its privacy technology atop Firefox and the Bing Web Search API. The beta should launch by mid-January at the latest; those interested in testing it out can sign up here. The ultimate goal isn’t to overthrow Google. It’s to reimagine what the internet demands of its users.

“Nobody delivers ad-free private search today,” says Tillman. “As a first step we thought that was pretty unique. If you’re like, I want privacy and also I just hate ads, Ghostery search is the only option out there for you.”

Nothing’s free in this life, and Ghostery is no different. Whereas Google’s ad business subsidizes its free services like search and Chrome, Ghostery’s ad-free search requires a Ghostery Plus subscription, which costs $5 per month. The company is working on an ad-supported version that anyone can use for free, a model that would resemble the already popular privacy search engine DuckDuckGo, which places ads contextually rather than based on user behavior. (The business models run the gamut; the privacy-focused browser Brave blocks ads, but it has experimented with paying users who opt to view them.)

screenshot

Courtesy of Ghostery

While they’re launching at the same time, Ghostery browser and search aren’t inextricable. The Ghostery browser doesn’t lock you into the company’s search engine; you can choose from six options to use as your default—yes, including Google. Likewise, Tillman says the next phase of growth will include promoting Ghostery search as an option in more established browsers.

Actually using the Ghostery browser and search engine in tandem, even at this early stage, is a refreshingly zippy if minimalist experience. That’s partly because of the foundation that Firefox and Bing provide. “We think that the core of the browser is really good,” says Tillman. “We take Firefox and then we strip it down.” That means no integrations like Pocket, which comes standard on Firefox proper. And privacy-friendly settings that might be optional on Mozilla’s browser are turned all the way up by default in Ghostery. (It also comes with a private browsing mode that goes to 11. “It’s much more aggressive,” says Tillman, “to the point where things get a little unusable.”)

Over the course of a few days of playing with the pre-beta as my daily driver, I found the Ghostery browser itself to be stable, with all the features you’d expect given its Firefox foundation. In addition to the stock privacy and anti-tracking features you can already find in the Ghostery extension, it takes advantage of Firefox features like Redirect Tracking Protection, which wipes away cookies and site data every 24 hours from sites you don’t visit often. It also enables advanced features like dynamic first-party isolation and protection against tracker-cloaking technology by default. Basically, it makes it as hard as possible for ad companies to follow you around the web.

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A Ransomware Gang Bought Facebook Ads to Troll Its Victim

This week, president Donald Trump continued to contest the results of the United States presidential election, which he lost handily to Joe Biden. But along the way, the Trump campaign’s lawsuits and other offensives have inadvertently demonstrated just how free of fraud the election was.

We also took a deep dive into the world of Covid-19 apps, which represent a privacy minefield, especially when developers don’t use Apple and Google’s Bluetooth-based protocol. And a former Microsoft engineer was sentenced to nine years in prison for stealing $10 million in store credit from the company.

Elsewhere, we showed you how to stop WhatsApp from hogging so much of your phone’s storage, and how to set up parental controls on all of your accounts. And lastly, if you have some time to set aside this weekend, check out this feature from our December/January issue about the lengths that hackers went to to expose rampant corruption in Brazil.

And there’s more! Every Saturday we round up the security and privacy stories that we didn’t break or report on in depth but think you should know about. Click on the headlines to read them, and stay safe out there.

Ransomware continues to evolve in all sorts of unpleasant and unexpected ways. The latest spin: The notorious Ragnar Locker gang apparently hacked into a deejay’s Facebook page and took out ads through his account to pressure the Campari Group, a recent victim, to pay up. (Yes, that sentence was a journey!) The ad campaign hit nearly 8,000 Facebook users before it got shut down. The ad itself warned that the hackers would release Campari’s data online if they failed to capitulate. As ransomware groups become increasingly emboldened, expect them to continue showing up in unexpected places—and causing unfathomable damage.

Authorities have warned for months that public health organizations and vaccine developers would be high-value targets for state-sponsored hacking groups. And lo! Microsoft this week revealed that Russia and North Korea have both gone on the offensive, targeting seven researchers and pharmaceutical companies at work on a Covid-19 vaccine. In some cases, they’ve had success, though it’s unclear who the affected companies are to begin with. As infection and hospitalization rates continue to spike, expect more hacking shenanigans to follow, as countries without strong research pipelines seek ill-gained shortcuts.

For those who have not been closely following the social media accounts of the Defense Department’s cybersecurity boffins, know that they’ve taken on a delightful new tone over the last few months. More specifically, US Cyber Command has been calling out foreign hackers not only with details of their operations, but Photoshop projects that would make a grungy message board proud. The efficacy of shaming Russia and China with cartoon bears and headphone-wearing sloths, respectively, is uncertain at best. But it’s fun! And that’s worth a lot, especially in these times.

The bad news: Google patched two new Chrome zero-day bugs this week, which brings the tally to five dangerous flaws in under a month. The good news: Your browser has almost certainly auto-updated by now, meaning that you should be good to go. Still, it’s a reminder that even the most well-resourced software in the world can have issues. The important thing is how quickly they’re fixed.


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The GOP Keeps Proving There’s No Election Fraud

“Election officials have run a great election,” says Ben Adida, executive director of VotingWorks, a nonprofit developer of open source voting machines and election auditing software.

It’s not just court cases; Trump allies have also generated more wacky ideas to try and get their point across. On Tuesday, Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick offered up to a $1 million reward from his campaign funds for information about voter fraud anywhere in the country. If fraud really were as pervasive as Trump and his allies claim, though, and with all eyes on this election within the US and abroad, it seems unlikely that it would take a huge cash incentive to suss it out.

That same day, Kentucky senator Rand Paul tweeted that, “One way of determining fraud in mail-in ballots would be to examine a random sample of a few thousand to find the rate of fraud. If fraud rate is low, voters may be convinced of the election’s legitimacy. If the fraud rate is high, then every mail-in ballot should be examined.” Election officials and researchers were quick to note, though, that Paul is essentially describing “risk-limiting audits” that were already planned in five states this year—including Kentucky. More election funding for states would allow broader adoption of such audits sooner. And a hearing today centered around the use of Sharpies in Arizona—a popular talking point in right-wing circles—revealed that just 191 out of 165,000 votes were potentially impacted. It’s also not even clear that any of those votes were actually tabulated incorrectly.

Despite the overwhelming lack of evidence provided by the GOP, the administration has continued its dangerous rhetoric. On Wednesday, secretary of state Mike Pompeo insisted that “there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.” Today, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who is also an adviser to the Trump campaign, told Fox & Friends that Trump is “letting this litigation play out, letting his lawyers take the lead on this while he stays hard at work for the American people on Covid and other matters.” And of course, the president himself continues to tweet.

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illustration of 2020 in red and blue

Top Republican-leaning election officials like secretaries of state have particularly struggled with the situation. There’s no way to promote doubts about the validity of the presidential election results without undermining the entire election, including other races that were also on the ballot. Still, some Republicans have tried, celebrating GOP congressional and state legislative victories while refusing to acknowledge Biden as the president-elect. In Georgia, top Republicans including senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue have put enormous pressure on GOP secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, even calling for his resignation. Georgia’s incoming Republican Congressional delegation even sent him a letter demanding that he assess the possibility of potential vote fraud before certifying the results of the election—the same ballots that put all of them in office.

On Saturday, Montana’s secretary of state Corey Stapleton tweeted, “I have supported you, Mr. President, we (Montana) have supported you—and @realDonaldTrump accomplished some incredible things during your time in office! But that time is now over. Tip your hat, bite your lip, and congratulate @JoeBiden.”

The situation will hopefully resolve itself soon. Biden’s 14,000-vote margin in Georgia is tight enough to trigger an audit, but in a seemingly improvised interpretation of state regulations, Raffensperger has opted for a full hand-recount, a time -intensive process that The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says has never been attempted before in Georgia. Still, Biden’s lead in Georgia appears to be fairly substantial—far greater than the 537 votes Republican George W. Bush had on Democrat Al Gore in Florida during the controversial 2000 presidential election. A recount should simply confirm Biden’s lead. And all states need to certify their elections and cast their Electoral College votes by December 14.

As President Trump himself put it in a debate at the end of September, “This is not going to end well.” It was a prescient statement, but Trump may not have predicted for whom.


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WhatsApp Using Up Your Phone Storage? Here’s How to Fix It

WhatsApp is the most popular end-to-end encrypted messaging app in the world. But while other people can’t snoop on what you’re saying, that doesn’t mean other WhatsApp data isn’t being processed.

WIRED UK

This story originally appeared on WIRED UK.

By far the biggest data-hogging element of WhatsApp is the pile of photos, videos, and gifs that can quickly clog up your phone’s storage. As well as filling your phone’s memory, photos that save to your camera roll can be a privacy nightmare. If you’re scrolling through pics with friends or family, nobody wants that to be punctuated with something inappropriate that arrived through WhatsApp.

WhatsApp automatically downloads new photos and videos that are sent to you. These are stored on your phone, but can also be saved to your camera roll. An updated version of WhatsApp now gives you more control over what media is stored on your phone.

Clear Everything Out

First, you want to start with a clear-out. Some of your longest-running and most active WhatsApp chats most likely take up a sizable chunk of your device’s storage. WhatsApp has introduced some new storage management tools to help you take back control. Storage management may not be the most glamorous task, but it could help to improve your phone’s performance pretty quickly.

In WhatsApp, navigate to Settings (found in the menu represented by three dots in the top right of WhatsApp), then Storage and data, and finally Manage storage. This page shows a list of your conversations and how much storage each of them was using. Tap on a person or group and you’ll see how many messages, contacts, photos, locations, gifs, videos, documents, and audio messages are stored. You can “free up space” by selecting the option onscreen and deciding which categories of data to get rid of from the chat.

While this method can help crush some of the biggest storage culprits, it’s a pretty blunt tool. Deleting all photos from a chat risks losing some of the images that you want to keep. WhatsApp’s latest storage tool, which is rolling out to everyone at the start of November, is designed to give people more granular control.

It has redesigned the Manage Storage page to show how much of your phone is being consumed by data stored in WhatsApp. it also highlights photos and videos that have been forwarded to you multiple times and the biggest files on your device. The two new sections—Forwarded many times and Larger than 5MB—can be accessed in a gallery view where you can batch-delete files. Tap on all the files you want to get rid of and hit the delete icon. There’s also the option to select all and move them instantly to trash.

Stop Saving WhatsApp Photos to Your Phone

By default, on both Android and iOS, WhatsApp will automatically download and save images to your phone. The platform does this so it can provide “quick access to your latest photos.” But it can be a pain, especially when you don’t want memes or other internet fodder clogging up your phone’s camera roll.

These settings can be changed. Head to Settings, then Chats. On Android devices, turning off Media visibility will stop newly downloaded photos and videos from appearing in your phone’s gallery. While on iOS through the same chats menu, selecting the Save to camera roll option will let you turn it off.

Stop Automatic Downloads

Now that images and videos aren’t showing up in your camera roll, there’s one more way to limit what happens to the media you receive. You’re able to control whether they are automatically downloaded to your phone or whether you want to manually download the files when you’re ready to open them.

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How to Use Apple, Google, and Microsoft’s Parental Controls

Depending on your particular mix of computers and gadgets, you’re probably using one or more Apple, Google, or Microsoft accounts—or maybe all three. In each case, the IDs that you sign in with can also be used to manage the IDs of younger family members, limiting their screen time inside apps and protecting them against unsuitable content. Here’s how to get everything set up.

Apple

macbook iphone and ipad
Family Sharing works across Apple devices and Apple services.Screenshot: David Nield via Apple

Apple’s single stop for family account management is Family Sharing—besides yourself, you can add up to five other people, kids or otherwise, and then share everything from Apple Music to purchased apps to iCloud storage. Children age 13 and over can have their own Apple ID. For younger children, you can create and manage an Apple ID for them.

To get started with Family Sharing, open Settings on an iPhone or iPad, tap your Apple ID name, then choose Family Sharing and Set Up Your Family. If you’re on a Mac, open up System Preferences, then choose Family Sharing. Follow the instructions to invite people to your family or set up the necessary Apple IDs for your youngsters.

With your family created, services such as Apple TV Plus, Apple Music, Apple News Plus, and Apple Arcade are shared automatically if you’ve subscribed to them. Any iCloud storage you’ve purchased is pooled between family members, and Photos automatically creates a shared album for everyone to use. Most of this happens without any effort on your part—when people in your family sign into their Apple account, they’ll see the same apps and services available as you do.

In terms of looking after your children, there are a few key tools bundled with Family Sharing. You can look up their locations on a map at any time—to do this, open up the Find My app on iOS or macOS and select the people you want to share your location with. You can also make sure that app, movie, music, and other purchases your kids try to make go through you first: After tapping your Apple ID in Settings on iOS or opening System Preferences on macOS, choose Family Sharing then Ask to Buy to set this up.

You can use the same Screen Time feature that tracks your own device usage to monitor what your kids are up to—and put limits in place if needed. Open up Screen Time from Settings on iOS or System Preferences on macOS, and as long as you have a family sharing plan in place, you’ll be able to select each of your children and see what they’re up to, and put restrictions in place.

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Joe Biden Won—and Not Because of Voter Fraud

“By having the public observation, that holds people accountable—making sure that people can see what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and that you’re following the rules,” Marian Schneider, an election and voting rights consultant for the ACLU of Pennsylvania and the former president of the election integrity nonprofit Verified Voting told WIRED in August. “It’s just part of our democracy to have processes in place that allow citizens to participate as observers.”

And while the Trump campaign paints the situation as dishonest Democrats gallivanting about in party strongholds, there’s representation from both parties among election officials if you look across all of the districts and states that needed more time to declare preliminary results. Nevada has a Republican secretary of state, and Georgia has both a Republican governor and secretary of state.

Election Officials Are Already Monitoring for Fraud

Voting fraud can happen, and over the past year President Trump has frantically highlighted isolated examples around the country of investigations that exposed issues. But research—including findings from right-leaning policy groups—has consistently shown that voting fraud is very rare and almost never shows up on a scale that would substantially impact a major election. The fact that Trump has been able to find examples at all, though, speaks instead to the monitoring measures that election officials have in place to catch wrongful votes.

Exact strategies vary by state, but all monitor for double voting, vet absentee ballots for correct personal data like Social Security number and signature matches, and number or otherwise track ballots to ensure that random forgeries can’t just make their way into the pile. Any ballot that has an inconsistency, looks suspicious, or is a provisional ballot gets pulled for manual review.

“When it comes to vote-by-mail and voter impersonation, you might get away with impersonating a small number of voters, but you won’t swing the election, and if you do anything at scale you’re going to get found out,” says Ben Adida, executive director of VotingWorks, a nonprofit developer of open source voting machines and election auditing software. “I don’t worry about the risk of fraud, because there are processes in place for ensuring everybody only gets to vote once.”

The decentralized, state-controlled nature of US elections gives the system even more resilience. In spite of the Trump campaign’s general impatience, unsupported allegations, and incendiary rhetoric, there is no one centralized body the campaign can lobby to push results out before they’re ready. They can’t universally undermine the quality controls that make the process time consuming. And while it’s always possible (though, again, extremely unlikely) that a bad actor manipulated ballots during voting, it would require a massive inside job—while the country, the world, and Trump campaign observers are watching—to execute a massive, intentional fraud campaign during counting.

Trump Is Lighting a Powder Keg

Despite the lack of evidence to support the Trump campaign’s allegations, the president’s statements and those of other GOP leaders have stoked anxiety and unrest. Trump supporters in both Detroit and Phoenix protested outside ballot-processing sites on Wednesday, alternately calling for officials to “count the votes” and “stop the count.” In Maricopa County, Arizona, officials shut down the election office just after 9 pm local time, over fears that the protest could become violent.

Meanwhile, social networks have been grappling with how to handle false information about vote processing. On Thursday, Facebook removed a group with more than 360,000 members called “STOP THE STEAL” for violating its policies. Twitter added misinformation warnings to a number of Trump’s tweets throughout the week, and flagged other posts as well, including one from Donald Trump Jr. that said, “The best thing for America’s future is for @realDonaldTrump to go to total war over this election.” YouTube and Twitter both suspended former White House adviser Steve Bannon’s web show and removed an episode in which Bannon literally called for the beheading of top US pandemic expert Anthony Fauci and FBI director Christopher Wray.

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