Friday, November 03, 2006

King County's Optical Scan Machines Part of New HBO Documentary

For all those Ron Sims synchophants out there, and specfically to Goldie, over at, I would like to point out the key element in the new "Hacking Democracy" film that just debuted on HBO, is very well summarized by Brad Blog:

Finnish computer security expert Harri Hursti discovered that Diebold stored an executable program on the same removable memory card used to store the tabulated votes on each Diebold voting machine. "If someone had told me there was a modifiable, executable program in the same place where the most secured data was stored, I'd say you'd have to be misunderstanding something, crazy or lying," Hursti declares.

The attempted Hursti hack, as allowed by Sancho, moves forward throughout the film. By the time it was completed (in pitifully short order), the e-voting world would be turned on its head. Hursti succeeding in exposing that both optical-scan systems and touch-screen voting systems manufactured by Diebold -- and apparently tested by no one -- could be hacked, an election result completely flipped, and no trace would be left behind. All that was needed was a $100 memory card reader bought off the Internet and about 60 seconds of access to the machine's memory card. RadioShack or Best Buy has all the necessary tools, in fact.

To repeat: It's not just Diebold's DREs that can be hacked. The Hursti hack targeted the memory card. Not only DREs but optical-scan units can record their information to memory cards. In either case, they're vulnerable. The ability to have an election flipped, and to do so with a small number of people involved, was no longer a "theory."

Yep, as I've said all along. King County's Opt Scan's with central tabulators are no better than Touch Screens.... Ron Sims bought into both.

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