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Thursday, September 14, 2006
 
Diebold Voting Machines Hacked?

Okay, I've pretty much ignored this whole Black Box Voting stuff, because a great deal of it seems nonsensical. But this story does indicate that there is some cause for concern.

In a paper posted on the university's Web site, Edward Felten and two graduate students described how they had tested a Diebold AccuVote-TS machine they obtained, found ways to quickly upload malicious programs and even developed a computer virus able to spread such programs between machines.

And:

Felten and graduate students Ariel Feldman and Alex Halderman found that malicious programs could be placed on the Diebold by accessing the memory card slot and power button, both behind a locked door on the side of the machine. One member of the group was able to pick the lock in 10 seconds, and software could be installed in less than a minute, according to the report.

The researchers say they designed software capable of modifying all records, audit logs and counters kept by the voting machine, ensuring that a careful forensic examination would find nothing wrong.


But:

Felten said hacking dangers could be mitigated with better software, more restrictions on access to machines and memory cards, and paper receipts verified by the voter.

Radke said Diebold already has implemented many of those things.


Let me just say that the value of the paper receipt thing has been overblown. If it's given to the voter, it will not be available for elections officials to review later. Personally, I think the optical scan ballots work better; there are no "dimpled chads" to deal with.
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