September 14, 2006

Princeton eVoting Study [10:56 am]

This Princeton site points to a distressing paper to read: Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting Machine

Abstract

This paper presents a fully independent security study of a Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine, including its hardware and software. We obtained the machine from a private party. Analysis of the machine, in light of real election procedures, shows that it is vulnerable to extremely serious attacks. For example, an attacker who gets physical access to a machine or its removable memory card for as little as one minute could install malicious code; malicious code on a machine could steal votes undetectably, modifying all records, logs, and counters to be consistent with the fraudulent vote count it creates. An attacker could also create malicious code that spreads automatically and silently from machine to machine during normal election activities—a voting-machine virus. We have constructed working demonstrations of these attacks in our lab. Mitigating these threats will require changes to the voting machine’s hardware and software and the adoption of more rigorous election procedures.

Salon article on the study — Hack the vote; Felten’s blog entry

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Escalating Warfare [8:38 am]

Think of the innovative ideas, programmer hours and other resources being wasted here: Microsoft Fixing Hole in Media Software

A solitary computer hacker has entangled Microsoft in a high-stakes battle of wits by repeatedly releasing a free program that strips away the software lock that the company created to protect digital movies and songs from being freely copied by Internet users.

While Microsoft has publicly sought to portray the David vs. Goliath contest as a nuisance, the affair escalated to become a genuine challenge to one of the company’s significant businesses this week after the BSkyB, the British satellite broadcaster, suspended its film download service amid fears of illegal copying.

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