Group identifies new flaws in Diebold evoting machines
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Monday July 31, 2006
GROUP: 'Vote counts can be changed with the flip of a a switch'
The Open Voting Foundation, a California-based nonprofit organization that works to promote the adoption of "open source" technology to the nation's voting machines, has announced it has found what it calls the "worst ever security flow found in Diebold RS voting machines."
The Foundation claims to have discovered a switch inside of the machine which, when flipped, can have the machine operate in "a completely different manner compared to the tested and certified version."
"Diebold has made the testing and certification process practically irrelevant," said the Foundation's President Alan Descert, in a statement obtained by RAW STORY. "If you have access to these machines and you want to rig an election, anything is possible with the Diebold TS -- and it could be done without leaving a trace. All you need is a screwdriver," he continued.
Technical specifications of the report may be read in the statement, an excerpt from which follows:
Open Voting Foundation is releasing 22 high-resolution close up pictures of the system. This picture, in particular, shows a “BOOT AREA CONFIGURATION” chart painted on the system board.
The most serious issue is the ability to choose between "EPROM" and "FLASH" boot configurations. Both of these memory sources are present. All of the switches in question (JP2, JP3, JP8, SW2 and SW4) are physically present on the board. It is clear that this system can ship with live boot profiles in two locations, and switching back and forth could change literally everything regarding how the machine works and counts votes. This could be done before or after the so-called "Logic And Accuracy Tests".
A third possible profile could be field-added in minutes and selected in the "external flash" memory location, the interface for which is present on the motherboard.
This is not a minor variation from the previously documented attack point on the newer Diebold TSx. To its credit, the TSx can only contain one boot profile at a time. Diebold has ensured that it is extremely difficult to confirm what code is in a TSx (or TS) at any one time but it is at least theoretically possible to do so. But in the TS, a completely legal and certified set of files can be instantly overridden and illegal uncertified code be made dominant in the system, and then this situation can be reversed leaving the legal code dominant again in a matter of minutes.
“These findings underscore the need for open testing and certification. There is no way such a security vulnerability should be allowed. These systems should be recalled”