Friday, May 12, 2006

How Many Flaws in Diebold Machines Does This Make Now?

Because I've lost count.

Inside Bay Area
"Scientists call Diebold security flaw 'worst ever'
Critics say hole created for upgrades could be exploited by someone with nefarious plans
By Ian Hoffman, STAFF WRITER

Computer scientists say a security hole recently found in Diebold Election Systems' touch-screen voting machines is the 'worst ever' in a voting system.

Election officials from Iowa to Maryland have been rushing to limit the risk of vote fraud or disabled voting machines since the hole was reported Wednesday.

Scientists, who have conferred with Diebold representatives, said Diebold programmers created the security hole intentionally as a means of quickly upgrading voting software on its electronic voting machines.

The hole allows someone with a common computer component and knowledge of Diebold systems to load almost any software without a password or proof of authenticity and potentially without leaving telltale signs of the change.

'I think it's the most serious thing I've heard to date,' said Johns Hopkins University computer science professor Avi Rubin, who published the first security analysis of Diebold voting software in 2003. 'Even describing why I think it's serious is dangerous. This is something that's so easy to do that if the public were to hear about it, it would raise the risk of someone doing it. ... This is the worst-case scenario, almost.'

Diebold representatives acknowledged the security hole to Pennsylvania elections officials in a May 1 memo but said the 'probability for exploiting this vulnerability to install unauthorized software that could affect an election is considered low.'

California elections officials echoed that assessment Friday in a message to county elections chiefs. "

Whew! I feel better already!


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