In 2021, entrepreneur Mike Lindell announced a “Cyber Symposium” in Sioux Falls, S.D. to release data proving that U.S. voting machines were hacked by China. Although there were experts present who could analyze data at the symposium, Bob Zeidman, who invented software forensics, decided to attend as he was also a tournament poker player and loved a good challenge. He examined three remaining files consisting of simple text files that represented hex numbers and used tools to convert them into numbers. Despite finding hundreds of rows of numbers appearing as IP addresses, there was no other information. Zeidman realised that these files were unrelated to the 2020 election, and he filed a report.
The next day the symposium began again with some additional data given by Lindell for analysis. Zeidman found that most of the dates for the latest files were wrong, and most had been modified right before examination. This meant that the data could not accurately represent data from the November 2020 election. He added this to his report, rushed to the symposium as it was ending, handed over his report on a flash drive, and ran to catch his flight home.
Zeidman’s findings were not acknowledged by Lindell, so he filed a lawsuit against him. During the hearing, Lindell’s witnesses gave conflicting answers to critical questions. The lawsuit dragged on for a year and a half, during which his law firm quit, and Lindell hired a new one.
The Cyber Symposium showcased that the US electoral system’s vulnerability remained a topic of discussion. But details revealed at the symposium and the subsequent lawsuit revealed that there was no evidence of Chinese meddling. Lindell’s conspiracy theories regarding the 2020 elections had no merit. Lindell, a former salesman who made his name through infomercials for My Pillow, found himself at odds with Zeidman, who was highly respected in the tech industry. Lindell’s claims of finding evidence of voter fraud proved to be untrue, and his Cyber Symposium was labelled a failure.