Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Don't Look at the Man Behind the Curtain

If you watched TV coverage you heard the commentators, trying to grapple with how the polls could have been so wrong in the Clinton/Obama race. It certainly does seem improbable that 8 well-known polls would be accurate in all races, but miss the mark on that one race by double digits in some cases. Hmmmmmmmmmmn.

About 81% of New Hampshire votes are counted by Diebold Optical Scan machines. These are the same machines that have been de-certified by California.

The Red Team is the team of expert computer scientists that was hired to hack the voting machines in California. You can read the Red Team report here to see all the ways they were able to compromise the machines. Here are a few:

(p. 10 & 11) They were able to hack the Windows platform that it runs on and access the system as an administrator. Once they had administrator access they used it to corrupt and manipulate the database, which could lead to manipulated vote totals. They were able to take these actions without being traced.

(p. 12) They were able to gain "sufficient access for an attacker to manipulate every setting on the networking devices and on the server." And then establish remote access through a wireless device.

(p. 12) "The Red Team was able ...to alter vote totals in order to change the vote results on [the] machine."

(p.17) They summarize by saying that they were able to, "...alter vote totals, violate the privacy of individual voters, make systems unavailable, and delete audit trails.

You will find concerns about the New Hampshire vote totals at Bradblog.com, and at Blackboxvoting.org, which also has an older post about how the same Diebold Optical Scan machines were hacked in 2000 in Volusia County Florida. That hack was well-documented in the media.

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