Howard County Blog

A Blog on what is going on in Howard County

Monday, September 25, 2006

Voting Machine Hacking

Princeton University recently released a very study on the easy of commiting election fraud by hacking the Diebold computerized voting machines we use here in Maryland. Here were their keep findings:

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 postelection 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.

You can go read their full analysis here and finds more background here.

Delegate Liz Bobo -- who was one of the leading champions of the voter verified paper trail bill that passed the House of Delegates unanimously and would have created a way to determine in election machines were tampered with -- will be speaking Tuesday, September 26th at 7pm at the Democracy for Howard County meeting at Elkridge Library about voting machine issues.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need to go back to the Scantron ballots we used to use, where we, using a medium point marker, connected the tail of the arrow to the head of the arrow which pointed to the candidates name for whom we were voting. Each ballot *WAS* the paper trail. So, even if the machines were hacked, the paper trail existed was absolutely trustable.

Adding a paper trail that is generated by these current machines is no more trustable than these hackable machines themselves.

3:21 AM  

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