Skip to comments.How to Hack an Election
Posted on 01/31/2004 4:49:34 AM PST by Archangelsk
How to Hack an Election
Concerned citizens have been warning that new electronic voting technology being rolled out nationwide can be used to steal elections. Now there is proof. When the State of Maryland hired a computer security firm to test its new machines, these paid hackers had little trouble casting multiple votes and taking over the machines' vote-recording mechanisms. The Maryland study shows convincingly that more security is needed for electronic voting, starting with voter-verified paper trails.
When Maryland decided to buy 16,000 AccuVote-TS voting machines, there was considerable opposition. Critics charged that the new touch-screen machines, which do not create a paper record of votes cast, were vulnerable to vote theft. The state commissioned a staged attack on the machines, in which computer-security experts would try to foil the safeguards and interfere with an election.
They were disturbingly successful. It was an "easy matter," they reported, to reprogram the access cards used by voters and vote multiple times. They were able to attach a keyboard to a voting terminal and change its vote count. And by exploiting a software flaw and using a modem, they were able to change votes from a remote location.
Critics of new voting technology are often accused of being alarmist, but this state-sponsored study contains vulnerabilities that seem almost too bad to be true. Maryland's 16,000 machines all have identical locks on two sensitive mechanisms, which can be opened by any one of 32,000 keys. The security team had no trouble making duplicates of the keys at local hardware stores, although that proved unnecessary since one team member picked the lock in "approximately 10 seconds."
Diebold, the machines' manufacturer, rushed to issue a self-congratulatory press release with the headline "Maryland Security Study Validates Diebold Election Systems Equipment for March Primary." The study's authors were shocked to see their findings spun so positively. Their report said that if flaws they identified were fixed, the machines could be used in Maryland's March 2 primary. But in the long run, they said, an extensive overhaul of the machines and at least a limited paper trail are necessary.
The Maryland study confirms concerns about electronic voting that are rapidly accumulating from actual elections. In Boone County, Ind., last fall, in a particularly colorful example of unreliability, an electronic system initially recorded more than 144,000 votes in an election with fewer than 19,000 registered voters, County Clerk Lisa Garofolo said. Given the growing body of evidence, it is clear that electronic voting machines cannot be trusted until more safeguards are in place.
I don't even know what this means. Voter-verified paper trails? Will the voters be asked to verify these paper trails? That will stop voters who are bent on cheating?? Or do they mean "paper verification of voter registration"? That would seem to make more sense.
Also, if the solution to an electronic problem is more paper, then perhaps we should just go back to paper ballots (like they had in Florida). The NYT will like that, huh?
The illiterates have been committing vote fraud or years...Now vote fraud for the intelligent!
Duh, ya think? Wonder if the poll workers would say anything to guy lugging in a keyboard and attaching it to a voting machine? Nah. At least not in Palm Beach County.
Physical security is part of securing the votes. It has broken down before (guy in Palm Beach county with a voting machine in his trunk) and it will break down again regardless if the voting machines have changed or not.
Until the penalties are made much more severe for vote fraud the Demorats will just continue to make a mockery of the process.
No, until the authorities start PROSACUTING those who commit voter fraud...
Security measures urged for voting machines
Results tallied by Maryland's 16,000 new electronic voting machines can be trusted in their first statewide test during the March 2 presidential primary, but only with some added security measures, a state official and a consultant told legislators yesterday.
Linda H. Lamone, the state's election administrator, said she is planning to use the tamper-proof tape, but told legislators she is concerned about the ramifications of some of the other suggested fixes.
But she said the security patches cannot be installed over the next 33 days. Other preparation work is being done on the machines and changing the software could interfere with that.
"We are risking a catastrophic failure," she said. "It doesn't seem to be worth it at this step of the game."
What she is saying, better to risk disenfranchising people's votes rather than apply security patches to close the holes.
Some of the attacks would mess up the official results while others would impact unofficial results, which could be remedied but would bring the machines into greater question in the court of public opinion.
You 're more secure buying a book from Amazon.com than you are uploading your results to the Diebold server," Wertheimer told the House panel.
I think most of the vote fraud comes from corrupt poll workers. Close the polls, lock the doors, and add a few more votes for the dem candidate. It's essentially what they've been doing in places such as Detroit and Chicago for years. Now it's going to be even easier.
Sooner or later we're gonna have to rise up and do something substantial about this and other problems.
I am intrigued by the ability to hack the system remotely. This is an opportunity for the amoral Libertarians! Instead of whining about not having enough money to "go against the big guys", just divert all of the campaign money into purchasing the best hackers money can buy. We could then have a Libertarian Upset in Novemenber! Heck, think about the house and one third of the senate changing through the miracle of electronic voting.
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