Tuesday, 11 October 2011 11:00
Electronic Voting Machines Proven Vulnerable to HackingWritten by Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
No political maxim is more universally accepted as truth than that the right to vote is sacrosanct. In a free society where the people are the ultimate sovereigns and where the electoral will of the people is manifest through the casting of ballots for representatives who will make laws on behalf of them, there can be nothing more vital than the protections placed around the franchise and the assurance voters have that this essential expression of their will is never tainted.
If the above is accepted as true, then the perpetuation of the American Republic is in peril.
To understand the scope of the threat to U.S. elections, one must keep the following fact in mind: Almost all voters in Georgia, Maryland, Utah, and Nevada, and the majority of voters in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Texas, will cast their ballots using electronic voting devices on Election Day in 2012.
Now follows the chilling report published in Salon: "Voting machines used by as many as a quarter of American voters heading to the polls in 2012 can be hacked with just $10.50 in parts and an 8th grade science education."
This is the fragile state of affairs according to the computer science and security experts employed at the Vulnerability Assessment Team at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. After conducting numerous experiments on the machines used by millions of American voters, this group of experts reportedly found that “the newly developed hack could change voting results while leaving absolutely no trace of the manipulation behind.”
The head of this cadre of computer consultants, Roger Johnston, warned:
We believe these man-in-the-middle attacks are potentially possible on a wide variety of electronic voting machines. We think we can do similar things on pretty much every electronic voting machine.
The sample machine used by the Argonne team was the Diebold Accuvote voting system. The device was obtained from a “former Diebold contractor.”
While previous laboratory experiments on the vulnerability of similar devices demonstrated that an extraordinary amount of coding savvy would be required to hack these electronic voting machines, this latest investigation showed that for an attack on the machine’s software to be successful, “no modification, reprogramming, or even knowledge, of the voting machine’s proprietary source code” was necessary.
A video of the experiment is available at bradblog.com.