The Wrong Answer, Quickly

We held a primary election in Maryland yesterday. Avi Rubin, a computer science professor and election worker, has a horrifying description of
his day working with electronic voting machines.

These things are a time bomb. You think that 2000 was a mess? Imagine what it’s going to be like when there is no way to recount or verify.

UPDATE: A group of Princeton University researchers have made an extensive study of the Diebold machines we used. The results are not comforting.

Abstract This paper presents a fully independent security study of a Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine, including its hardware and software. We obtained the machine from a private party. Analysis of the machine, in light of real election procedures, shows that it is vulnerable to extremely serious attacks. For example, an attacker who gets physical access to a machine or its removable memory card for as little as one minute could install malicious code; malicious code on a machine could steal votes undetectably, modifying all records, logs, and counters to be consistent with the fraudulent vote count it creates. An attacker could also create malicious code that spreads automatically and silently from machine to machine during normal election activities — a voting-machine virus. We have constructed working demonstrations of these attacks in our lab. Mitigating these threats will require changes to the voting machine’s hardware and software and the adoption of more rigorous election procedures.

2 thoughts on “The Wrong Answer, Quickly”

  1. I’m sorry but whoever is building thse voting machines have to be a bunch of numnuts. The concept isn’t new and not that hard. Plus we’ve had years to perfect it. We should get Leapster guys to build it, they do a fine job with my daughter’s LeapPad.

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