Friday, October 20, 2006

Why Ol' Bubba's worried

These machines can't produce a trustworthy election, no matter what your politics are:

Officials Probing Possible Theft of Voting Software in Md.
Ex-Delegate Says FBI Contacted Her About Disks She Received

By Cameron W. Barr
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 20, 2006; Page B01

The FBI is investigating the possible theft of software developed by the nation's leading maker of electronic voting equipment, said a former Maryland legislator who this week received three computer disks that apparently contain key portions of programs created by Diebold Election Systems.

Cheryl C. Kagan, a former Democratic delegate who has long questioned the security of electronic voting systems, said the disks were delivered anonymously to her office in Olney on Tuesday and that the FBI contacted her yesterday. The package contained an unsigned letter critical of Maryland State Board of Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone that said the disks were "right from SBE" and had been "accidentally picked up."

(Snip)

In an unrelated development, Maryland state auditors said in a report yesterday that the State Board of Elections is not properly controlling access to a new statewide database of registered voters or verifying what changes are made to it. The report comes at a time of heightened concern over the security and effectiveness of electronic voting systems.

(Snip)

The FBI investigation into the disks could focus further scrutiny on the security of Maryland's electronic voting system.

(Snip)

The release of such software poses a risk, computer scientists say, because it could allow someone to discover security vulnerabilities or to write a virus that could be used to manipulate election results.
In September, computer scientists at Princeton University who had obtained a Diebold voting machine demonstrated how a program they had created could secretly alter the votes cast on the machine. Diebold President Dave Byrd called the demonstration "unrealistic and inaccurate" and said it ignored the "physical security" measures used to safeguard voting machines.

The Washington Post obtained copies of the disks Wednesday and allowed Avi Rubin, a computer scientist at Johns Hopkins University, along with a colleague and a graduate student, to review the software on the condition that they make no copies of it.

"I would be stunned if it's not real," Rubin said.

Rubin, who has said that electronic voting systems that do not produce a paper record of each vote cannot be secured, led a team that produced an analysis that pointed out security vulnerabilities in the Diebold software found on the Internet in 2003.

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