Tuesday, September 19, 2006

MINI-BAR KEYS OPEN DIEBOLD MACHINES

Finally, one thing Republicans and Democrats ought to agree on: Electronic voting machines can be bad news for democracy.

A recent study from Princeton University shows the machines -- rolled out in the aftermath of the botched 2000 national election -- can be hacked with uneasy ease:
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.

The marketing director for the machine's maker — Diebold Inc.'s Diebold Election Systems of Allen, Texas — blasted the report, saying Felten ignored newer software and security measures that prevent such hacking.

"I'm concerned by the fact we weren't contacted to educate these people on where our current technology stands," Mark Radke said.

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.
This week it becomes clearer how easy it would be to bust into a Diebold machine and make mischief. This report notes that Diebold machines have locks that can be opened with a generic key:
[T]he exact same key is used widely in office furniture, electronic equipment, jukeboxes, and hotel minibars. It’s a standard part, and like most standard parts it’s easily purchased on the Internet. We bought several keys from an office furniture key shop — they open the voting machine too. We ordered another key on eBay from a jukebox supply shop. The keys can be purchased from many online merchants.
And no, the Diebold machines won't keep your tiny tequila bottles cold. But they can put a chill on voter confidence.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

You know what this means, don't you? It means Ted Kennedy will have access to every voting machine in America!!

Anonymous said...

7:01, after reading this, you are probably brilliant enough to try to charge your next six pack of malt liquor on your voter registration card.

Anonymous said...

7:07 I don't drink but I bet I know who your favorite U.S. Senator is!

86efeta said...

Great. Figboy's back, pretending to be anonymous. Say hey, Vince.

Anonymous said...

There is a commentor on some of the rightie blogs who has "Thank god for Diebold in November." as his tagline. Not very comforting.

Anonymous said...

This figures. The Florida keys had a part in stealing an election once. It's probably the bar keys' turn.

The Libertarian Guy said...

Don't tell me Ted quit drinking... no, I don't hear hoofbeats or trumpets, so it can't be the apocalypse.

Desdinova the Eternal Light said...

How about those big "church keys"?
Those little girls behind the bar at Chillis just whack the side of a beer bottle with those things and beer shoots everywhere. Thing of how many election could be thrown if you whacked a voting machine with one.

Anonymous said...

Enough to put Christine Gregoire into the Washington state governors' seat?

Anonymous said...

Probably enough to give our current Presinator consecutive terms.