Friday, October 24, 2008

Princeton Publishes Hacking How-To for E-Voting Machines

Poor E-voting. It really seems like a good idea, doesn't it? No more paper to fool with, no more tedious hours of counting and phoning in results. Everything could be done by computer. No errors. No hassles. Totally accurate. Well, it may be there one day, but not today, as is evidenced by previous posts here, here, and here. And now Princeton has published their findings on how shockingly easy it is to hack a Sequoia voting machine, a competitor of Diebold. In a 148-page document, they explain how they were able to break into the computer's locked cabinet in 13 seconds, with no lock-picking experience at all, and install a new ROM chip onto the circuit board which would give more votes to one candidate over another. "The fraud cannot practically be detected", the report states, "There is no paper audit trail on this machine; all electronic records of the votes are under control of the firmware, which can manipulate them all simultaneously." And, once installed on one machine, you can easily infect other voting machines without even touching them through viral propagation. Meanwhile, my cousin's Facebook poll on who's gayer: Gandalf or Magneto, is still running smoothly. Read more here.

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