Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Voting Machines and Monkey-Eating Bears

A report finds it a bit too easy to hack into Diebold's electronic voting equipment, which the company says is no cause for alarm - that's the way the system was meant to function. The report reveals that a "malicious" person could add programming code which could lie dormant until needed - years, possibly. No - really? Voter fraud in the good ole U.S. of A.?

"One of them, however, seems to enable a malicious person to compromise the equipment even years before actually using the exploit, possibly leaving the voting terminal incurably compromised. These architectural defects are not in the election-processing system itself. However, they compromise the underlying platform and therefore cast a serious question over the integrity of the vote. These exploits can be used to affect the trustworthiness of the system or to selectively disenfranchise groups of voters through denial of service."

Darn those "malicious" people!!

You can access the full report from Black Box Voting via this link to PC World, where a Diebold spokesman says this issue is all in how you look at it:

"
What they're proposing as a vulnerability is actually a functionality of the system," said spokesman David Bear. "Instead of recognizing the advantages of the technology, we keep ringing up 'what if' scenarios that serve no purpose other than to confuse and in some instances frighten voters."

Nevertheless, Diebold plans to address the issue in an upcoming version of the product, which will use cryptographic keys to ensure that only authorized software is installed on the machine, Bear said. He could not say when this feature would be added, but said that it could be available in time for the November 7 general election in the U.S."

Nothing to see here - just move along.

Now here's where all that time I spent reading science-fiction and fact becomes useful - computerized systems can be hacked by outsiders or insiders. It's sort of the nature of the beast - codewriters can change code to fit so a desired outcome is achieved.

It makes me think of a story I saw today, where visitors went to see "wild animals" at a Dutch Zoo - and my God, the animals were wild! Bears ate a monkey! And people saw it! Just too real a wildlife experience for ticket-buyers, I suppose

And problems with voting machines and memory cards were quite evident in the 2000 presidential election, as Black Box voting reported years ago and other news organizations reported in 2000. If you're like me, reading this account of Diebold's own memos about voter fraud might give you a headache.

You've been warned.

8 comments:

Jenn Ta Fur said...

You were right about the headache.
Scary.

newscoma said...

That Monkey-eating bear was the topic of discussion at dinner last night.
Creepy, but very nature-filled being that's what happens in ... umm... nature. The Circle of Life, now what that's song from "The Lion King."

Tits McGee said...

My head just exploded.

Joe Powell said...

Maybe I should have put that warning in Bolder letters??

Or maybe its like that movie "They Live", where the public is kept deluded via satellite signals and if you try and break out of it, you'll get a pounding headache ... I'll always remember "Rowdy" Roddy Piper's line when he started fighting back - "I have come here to do two things, chew bubblegum and kick ass and I'm all out of bubblegum."

newscoma said...

I LOVE THAT LINE FROM THAT MOVIE!!!!!!!!!

Tits McGee said...

That movie kicks so much ass.

Just like "Rowdy" Roddy Piper.

james said...

You have been listening to Coast To Coast AM again

Joe Powell said...

It comes in great with my new tinfoil hat!!