Mr. Harri Hursti is a world-renowned data security expert, internet visionary and serial entrepreneur. He began his career as the prodigy behind the first commercial, public email and online forum system in Scandinavia. He founded his first company at the age of 13 and went on to cofound EUnet-Finland in his mid- 20’s. Today, Harri continues to innovate and find solutions to the world’s most vexing problems. He is among the world’s leading authority in the areas of election voting security and critical infrastructure and network system security.
Election Voting Security
Mr. Hursti is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on the topic of electronic voting security, having served in all aspects of the industry sector. He is considered an authority on uncovering critical problems in electronic voting systems worldwide. In the last 10 years, Mr. Hursti has pursued this important area out of a sense of duty to his fellow citizens of the world, here are several of his critical findings and projects.
As a consultant, he has conducted and co-authored many studies, both academic and commercial, on various election systems’ data security and vulnerability. These studies have come at the request of officials, legislators and policy makers in 5 countries; including the U.S. government, at both the state and federal level.
Some of his most widely regarded research and studies include:
- The EVEREST study for the Secretary of State Ohio is still considered the gold-standard among his peers. The paper can be read here.
- His work with Princeton University in a public-interest lawsuit brought by a Professor at Rutgers Law School called the New Jersey Voting-machine Lawsuit and the AVC Advantage DRE Voting Machine study of AVC. The findings can be read here.
- His most recent study with the University of Michigan completed in 2014, on the Estonia Electronic Voting System made world-wide headlines. The study and its findings can be read here.
As an ethical hacker, Mr. Hursti is famously known for his successful attempt to demonstrate how the Diebold Election Systems’ voting machines could be hacked, ultimately altering final voting results. Mr. Hursti was hired by the nonprofit elections watchdog group Black Box Voting, where he performed two voting machine hacking tests, which became widely known as the Hursti Hacks. The first Hursti Hack was set up in Leon County, Florida with the authorization of Supervisor of Elections and these tests examined a Diebold Election Systems Accu-Vote OS 1.94w (optical scan) voting machine. The second Hursti test was conducted for Black Box Voting in collaboration with the County Clerk of Emery County, Utah, on a Diebold TSx touch-screen.
In response to these successful hacks, California’s Secretary of State commissioned a special report by scientists at UC Berkeley to investigate the results and confirm the validity of the testing methodology used in the Hursti Hack. The UC Berkeley scientists wrote a Special Report on the Diebold Accuvote Voting Machine in which page 2 of their report states: “Harri Hursti’s attack does work: Mr. Hursti’s attack on the AV-OS is definitely real. He was indeed able to change the election results by doing nothing more than modifying the contents of a memory card. He needed no passwords, no cryptographic keys, and no access to any other part of the voting system, including the GEMS election management server.”
These tests were filmed and turned into an acclaimed HBO documentary called Hacking Democracy which was nominated for an Emmy award for outstanding investigative journalism.
Network Security and Critical Infrastructure
In the area of critical infrastructure, Mr. Hursti most recently completed an assignment organized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in February 2014, where he assumed the role of COO of an imaginary $53B critical infrastructure company in a cybersecurity attack simulation.
Mr. Hursti was co-founder of ROMmon, a network monitoring appliance vendor, where he developed an ultra-high bandwidth, real-time network traffic analyzer – the first of its kind. He served as ROMmon’s Chairman of the Board. ROMmon was acquired by F-Secure Corporation, a NASDAQ traded company.
In his early career, after creating EUnet Finland, Mr. Hursti continued to help build-out EUnet in Scandinavia which became the leading European Internet service provider (ISP) in the 1990’s. He served as the CEO and Chairman of the Board of EUnet Finland and EUnet Norway. The combined EUnet companies were ultimately acquired by Qwest Communications, a New York Stock Exchange traded company. At Qwest, Mr. Hursti continued to hold several senior positions, including President of the KPN/Qwest DSL business unit and Chief Access Officer of KPNQwest.
Mr. Hursti is the author of 4 U.S. patent applications for encryption and security and several additional international patents.
For his research and work on data security and data privacy Mr. Hursti received the EFFI Winston Smith Award in 2008 and the EFF Pioneer Award in 2009.