[E-voting] Devastating hack proven - Leon County dumps Diebold
cansbro at eircom.net
Wed Dec 14 22:04:09 GMT 2005
Posted on Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - 03:42 pm: Edit Post
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*Devastating hack proven - Leon County dumps Diebold*
Wed. December 14, 2005*: Due to contractual non-performance and security
design issues, Leon County (Florida) supervisor of elections Ion Sancho
has announced that he will never again use Diebold in an election. He
has requested funds to replace the Diebold system from the county. On
Tuesday, the most serious "hack" demonstration to date took place in
Leon County. The Diebold machines succumbed quickly to alteration of the
votes. This comes on the heels of the resignation of Diebold CEO Wally
O'Dell, and the announcement that a stockholder's class action suit has
been filed against Diebold by Scott & Scott. Further "hack" testing on
additional vulnerabilities is tentatively scheduled before Christmas in
the state of California.
Finnish security expert Harri Hursti, together with *Black Box Voting*,
demonstrated that Diebold made misrepresentations to Secretaries of
State across the nation when Diebold claimed votes could not be changed
on the "memory card" (the credit-card-sized ballot box used by
computerized voting machines.
A test election was run in Leon County on Tuesday with a total of eight
ballots. Six ballots voted "no" on a ballot question as to whether
Diebold voting machines can be hacked or not. Two ballots, cast by Dr.
Herbert Thompson and by Harri Hursti voted "yes" indicating a belief
that the Diebold machines could be hacked.
At the beginning of the test election the memory card programmed by
Harri Hursti was inserted into an Optical Scan Diebold voting machine. A
"zero report" was run indicating zero votes on the memory card. In fact,
however, Hursti had pre-loaded the memory card with plus and minus votes.
The eight ballots were run through the optical scan machine. The
standard Diebold-supplied "ender card" was run through as is normal
procedure ending the election. A results tape was run from the voting
Correct results should have been: *Yes:2 ; No:6 *
However, just as Hursti had planned, the results tape read: *Yes:7 ; No:1 *
The results were then uploaded from the optical scan voting machine into
the GEMS central tabulator, a step cited by Diebold as a protection
against memory card hacking. The central tabulator is the "mother ship"
that pulls in all votes from voting machines. However, the GEMS central
tabulator failed to notice that the voting machines had been hacked.
The results in the central tabulator read:
*Yes:7 ; No:1*
This videotaped testing session was witnessed by *Black Box Voting*
investigators Bev Harris and Kathleen Wynne, *Florida Fair Elections
Coalition* Director Susan Pynchon, security expert Dr. Herbert Thompson,
and Susan Bernecker, a former candidate for New Orleans city council who
videotaped Sequoia-brand touch-screen voting machines in her district
recording vote after vote for the wrong candidate.
The Hursti Hack requires a moderate level of inside access. It is,
however, accomplished without being given any password and with the same
level of access given thousands of poll workers across the USA. It is a
particularly dangerous exploit, because it changes votes in a one-step
process that will not be detected in any normal canvassing procedure, it
requires only a single a credit-card sized memory card, any single
individual with access to the memory cards can do it, and it requires
only a small piece of equipment which can be purchased off the Internet
for a few hundred dollars.
One thousand two hundred locations in the U.S. and Canada use Diebold
voting machines. In each of these locations, typically three people have
a high level of inside access. Temporary employees also often have brief
access to loose memory cards as machines are being prepared for
elections. Poll workers sometimes have a very high level of inside
access. National elections utilize up to two million poll workers, with
hundreds or thousands in a single jurisdiction.
Many locations in the U.S. ask poll workers to take voting machines home
with them with the memory cards inside. San Diego County (Calif) sent
713 voting machines/memory cards home with poll workers for its July 26
election, and King County (Wash.) sent over 500 voting machines home
with poll workers before its Nov. 8 election.
Memory cards are held in a compartment protected by a small plastic
seal. However, these simple seals can be defeated, and Hursti has found
evidence that the memory card can be reprogrammed without disturbing the
seal by using a telephone modem port on the back of the machine.
The Hursti Hack, referred to as "the mother of all security holes" was
first exposed in a formal report on July 4.
Diebold has insisted to county and state election officials that despite
Hursti's demonstration, changing votes on its memory cards is
impossible. (Public records from Diebold, including threat letter to Ion
On Oct. 17, 2005 Diebold Elections Systems Research and Development
chief Pat Green specifically told the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) board of
elections during a $21 million purchasing session that votes cannot be
changed using only a memory card. (Video of Pat Green:
http://www.bbvforums.org/forums/messages/2197/14298.html) Over the
objections of Cuyahoga County citizens, and relying on the veracity of
Diebold's statements, the board has chosen to purchase the machines.
According to Public Records obtained by *Black Box Voting*, Diebold has
promulgated misrepresentations about both the Hursti Hack and another
kind of hack by Dr. Herbert Thompson to secretaries of state, and to as
many as 800 state and local elections officials.
filed by the law offices of Scott and Scott:
*Diebold CEO resigns*:
Permission to reprint granted with link to http://blackboxvoting.org
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