From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]


By: Alan Dechert: 06 Aug, 2006

SACRAMENTO, CA – This may be the worst security flaw we have seen in
touch screen voting machines, says Open Voting Foundation president,
Alan Dechert. Upon examining the inner workings of one of the most
popular paperless touch screen voting machines used in public elections
in the United States, it has been determined that with the flip of a
single switch inside, the machine can behave in a completely different
manner compared to the tested and certified version.

Diebold has made the testing and certification process practically
irrelevant, according to Dechert. If you have access to these machines
and you want to rig an election, anything is possible with the Diebold
TS – and it could be done without leaving a trace. All you need is a
screwdriver. This model does not produce a voter verified paper trail
so there is no way to check if the voters’ choices are accurately
reflected in the tabulation.

Open Voting Foundation is releasing 22 high-resolution close up
pictures of the system. This picture, in particular, shows a BOOT AREA
CONFIGURATION chart painted on the system board.

The most serious issue is the ability to choose between “EPROM” and
“FLASH” boot configurations. Both of these memory sources are present.
All of the switches in question (JP2, JP3, JP8, SW2 and SW4) are
physically present on the board. It is clear that this system can ship
with live boot profiles in two locations, and switching back and forth
could change literally everything regarding how the machine works and
counts votes. This could be done before or after the so-called “Logic
And Accuracy Tests”.

A third possible profile could be field-added in minutes and selected
in the “external flash” memory location, the interface for which is
present on the motherboard.

This is not a minor variation from the previously documented attack
point on the newer Diebold TSx. To its credit, the TSx can only contain
one boot profile at a time. Diebold has ensured that it is extremely
difficult to confirm what code is in a TSx (or TS) at any one time but
it is at least theoretically possible to do so. But in the TS, a
completely legal and certified set of files can be instantly overridden
and illegal uncertified code be made dominant in the system, and then
this situation can be reversed leaving the legal code dominant again in
a matter of minutes.

These findings underscore the need for open testing and certification.
There is no way such a security vulnerability should be allowed. These
systems should be recalled.

OPEN VOTING FOUNDATION is a nonprofit non stock California corporation
dedicated to demonstrating the need for and benefits of voting
technology that can be publicly scrutinized.


Leave a Reply