I recently watched the movies Sneakers. At the end of the movie, the writer fantasized about hacking funds from RNC and moving it to amnesty international and the negro college fund – having previously taken the position that a true revolution would lead to chaos and misery (for the obvious Burkean reasons.)
So what to hack for the biggest impact? The scenario outlined above would lead to internal investigations and the target hardening their defenses, basically it’s a one-off. Good but not best.
Stealing an election would gets you four years of resources allocated more to your liking instead of a few weeks. How about hacking the vote? Risky because the chances of getting caught is high. Risky because getting caught here would outrage the public leading to harsh penalties and delegitimizing the candidate
Perhaps best to hack the computers of the opposing presidential campaign to screw up their election day get out the vote algorithms. It’s potentially a one-off too, but with high impact as the campaign directs resources into places where they are irrelevant or ineffective. Vulnerabilities of the target are high as it is mostly newly built and rapidly expanded. Chances of detection are low, because the organization is disbanding in a few days. Consequences of detection are low as the public won’t think much of a would be POTUS that can’t even keep his own data safe – so risk of outrage and delegitimization is much lower.
Is there evidence this has happened? Well, IT personnel and general and hackers like the group ~unknown~ are to the left. This attack would impact low turnout elections. Obama v. McCain was high turnout so any hacking would probably have been of negligible effect. Obama v. Romney was low turnout. Romney did much worse than generally expected, losing by a wide margin when expected to lose by small margin. The common explanation for that is hurricane->Chris Christie says something nice about Obama-> sways fence-sitters. I find that explanation thin as this was a mobilize-the-base sort of election, not a sway-the-fence-sitters election
Additionally I would expect that the hacker types would support Obama over Hillary and Bernie over Hillary. I don’t know enough about the democratic primaries to offer an opinion on if there is evidence of that happening though.