Diebold E-Voting Machines Exploited

In a turn of events reminiscent of the 2004 presidential elections, Diebold has once again supplied our government with laughably insecure voting machines. Their new model, the AccuVote TS, has been cracked using off-the-shelf computer hardware costing $10.50. “Anyone with a eighth grade education could construct the cards using standard tools and off-the-shelf components,” say researchers. When assembled, the small cards can be inserted between the touch screen and the microprocessor, allowing them to modify the information being sent between the two.

With another $15 or so, the attacker can also include hardware that allows him or her to remotely access the machine from up to half a mile away. The only problem with these attacks, however, is the attacker has to physically install the card in every machine. Although it doesn’t take an inordinate amount of time to install, access still has to be obtained. If the machines were stored securely in the time before the election it would be a lot more difficult to pull off this type of attack, but many are simply left to sit out in the voting area for an inordinate amount of time before the ballots are cast. In addition, Diebold’s machine is all electronic and lacks physical paper printouts of the ballots, making it even harder to audit.

Exposing the insecurity of these machines is a step in the right direction, but our government really needs to take this information and either secure or restructure our voting system. Our President should be elected by the people, not by crooks who exploit the system and pull wool over the people’s eyes. It’s been two terms since the last major e-voting scandal and it looks like they’re heading for another one.

Source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/09/28/diebold_electronic_vote_tampering/

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5 thoughts on “Diebold E-Voting Machines Exploited

  1. I get the need for an easier way to vote and a more user friendly gui along with an easier way of counting votes, however it annoys me that companies are not putting out the best the possibly can when it is the americans votes that are at stake. I believe that systems like these need to have up to date technical security along with physical security as well. These machines are soposed to be our future yet not one has yet to be succesfully designed where it cannot be exploited, or at least is very hard to exploit.

    • Exactly, the machines make the voting process easier, yet they lack any real security. If we are going to purchase these machines from Diebold and use them in elections, they really need to be made more secure. A tamper-evident system should also be included so that exploited machines can be identified. The current models aren’t cutting it.

  2. Scary to think something as big as a presidential election could be compromised with a hack like this. Are you aware of any software vulnerabilities? From what I read from your article it seems like they are all physical hardware hacks. Its unexceptionable for companies that develop these voting machines and to leave vulnerabilities like this. Just as a side note- Do you know if these voting machines are running proprietary operating systems? Or something along the lines of Win XP?

    • From what I can tell they’re running proprietary operating systems; I’m not sure if they’re based on linux or something though, I couldn’t find much on the specific software.

  3. It seems that NYS was right, by keeping those really old voting machines that you pull the lever, flip the tab, and the push the lever back to store your picks is safer than the new computerized voting machines. It is very concerning that this could possible happen and how easy it would be. If it gets any easier for them to hack the voting machines and alter the elections we might as well be like American Idol and let people call in their votes. If the government and the states believe that it is easier to use computerized voting machines, they also need to put the money and effort in to securing these devices because we do not want anyone one person or group to alter the election in any way. There is a lot of different security technology out there and they should look into using it to protect our nation’s election system.

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