Jerame Davis

Yeah, Our Democracy is Secure...

Filed By Jerame Davis | September 19, 2006 3:12 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: politics, voter fraud, voting, voting machines

I've been following a story about the Princeton professor who has a working virus that he can inject into a Diebold voting machine and alter vote tallies in any way he wishes.

Main Findings The main findings of our study are:

  1. Malicious software running on a single voting machine can steal votes with little if any risk of detection. The malicious software can modify all of the records, audit logs, and counters kept by the voting machine, so that even careful forensic examination of these records will find nothing amiss. We have constructed demonstration software that carries out this vote-stealing attack.
  2. Anyone who has physical access to a voting machine, or to a memory card that will later be inserted into a machine, can install said malicious software using a simple method that takes as little as one minute. In practice, poll workers and others often have unsupervised access to the machines.
  3. AccuVote-TS machines are susceptible to voting-machine viruses -- computer viruses that can spread malicious software automatically and invisibly from machine to machine during normal pre- and post-election activity. We have constructed a demonstration virus that spreads in this way, installing our demonstration vote-stealing program on every machine it infects.
  4. While some of these problems can be eliminated by improving Diebold's software, others cannot be remedied without replacing the machines' hardware. Changes to election procedures would also be required to ensure security.

Today, I read a follow-up article in which new findings from the same professor paint a very bleak picture.

Diebolds' machines can be opened with a standard office furniture key. "The access panel door on a Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine -- the door that protects the memory card that stores the votes, and is the main barrier to the injection of a virus - can be opened with a standard key that is widely available on the Internet," Felten wrote. "The exact same key is used widely in office furniture, electronic equipment, jukeboxes, and hotel minibars."

Let me boil this down for you...

In less than a minute and a half, someone could reprogram a Diebold voting machine to manipulate votes in any way they wish. All they need is an off-the-shelf memory card and a key they could buy on eBay for a buck.

Diebold says everything is fine, their product is secure.

We can all sleep well knowing Democracy is safe.


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Marla R. Stevens | September 21, 2006 9:43 AM

I noted that Frist noticed yesterday -- less than six weeks before the election -- that there's a problem.

I remember that the Repugs have sent out some high level factotum at about the same length of time before every major election since the year 2000 to officially notice there's a problem.

Pop the cork, Hazel, 'n' dig out them there fish eggs -- we're gonna celebrate -- not.