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Hack-a-vote: Students Learn How Vulnerable Electronic Voting Really Is

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posted on Oct, 8 2008 @ 09:43 AM
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Hack-a-vote: Students Learn How Vulnerable Electronic Voting Really Is


www.sciencedaily.com

ScienceDaily (Oct. 8, 2008) — Undergraduate and graduate students in an advanced computer security course at Rice University in Houston are learning hands-on just how easy it is to wreak havoc on computer software used in today's voting machines.

As part of his advanced computer science class, Rice University Associate Professor and Director of Rice's Computer Security Lab Dan Wallach tests his students in a unique real-life experiment: They are instructed to do their very best to rig a voting machine in the classroom.

Here's how the experiment works:

Wallach splits his class into teams. In phase one, the teams pretend to be unscrupulous programmers at a voting machine company. Their task: Make subtle changes to the machines' software -- changes that will alter the election's outcome but that cannot be detected by election officials.

In the second phase of the experiment, the teams are told to play the part of the election's software regulators. Their task is to certify the code submitted by another team in the first phase of the class.

"What we've found is that it's very easy to insert subtle changes to the voting machine," Wallach said. "If someone has access and wants to do damage, it's very straightforward to do it."

The good news, according to Wallach, is "when looking for these changes, our students will often, but not always, find the hacks."
(visit the link for the full news article)



[edit on 8-10-2008 by grover]




posted on Oct, 8 2008 @ 09:43 AM
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Yes I know elections can be stolen with paper ballots... LBJ famously did in in 1947 and there was hanky panky in Chicago in 1960 that "won" JFK the presidency and ultimately a bullet BUT...

... While ballot box stuffing with paper ballots can still be done, I trust them over electronic balloting any day... especially after the CEO of diebold infamously said that his company was committed to the re-election of bush minor.

AND they are still having problems in Florida.

Hanging chad or no hanging chad at least it is something physical that can be counted.

This article is disturbing in that it highlights how easily it can be done but at the same time reassuring about how easily such tampering can be discovered if they just care to look.

www.sciencedaily.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



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