[E-voting] Nedap voting machines successfully hacked

Margaret McGaley mmcgaley at cs.nuim.ie
Wed Oct 4 19:34:53 IST 2006

Excellent! I think a press release is *definitely* in order.

Three cheers for "We Don't Trust Voting Computers".

A couple of comments/suggestions for the release:

It might be best to punch right in with what WVSN have done, and then 
say who they are. Here's a version edited for punchiness:

(minor changes later, including a description of ICTE from a more recent 



A Dutch group have produced a modified version of the software which 
runs on the voting machine itself that is capable of mis-recording votes 
The recently formed Dutch anti e-voting group, "Wij vertrouwen 
stemcomputers niet" (We don't trust voting computers), has revealed on 
national Dutch television program "EenVandaag" on Nederland 1, that they 
have successfully hacked the Nedap machines -- identical to the machines 
purchased for use in Ireland in all important respects.

ICTE representative Colm MacCarthaigh, who has seen and examined the
compromised Nedap machine in action in Amsterdam, notes "The attack presented by
the Dutch group would not need significant modification to run on the Irish
systems.  The machines use the same construction and components, and differ
only in relatively minor aspects such as the presence of extra LEDs to assist
voters with the Irish voting system. The machines are so similar that the Dutch
group has been using only the technical reference manuals and materials
relevant to the Irish machines as a guide, as those are the only materials
publicly available."

Maurice Wessling, of Wij vertrouwen stemcomputers niet, adds "Compromising the
system requires replacing only a single component, roughly the size of a stamp,
and is impossible to detect just by looking at the machine".

Both ICTE and Wij vertrouwen stemcomputers niet view this as yet another
demonstration that no voting system which lacks a voter-verified audit trail can be trusted. According to ICTE spokesperson Margaret McGaley "Any system which lacks a means
for the voter to verify that their vote has been correctly recorded is
fundamentally and irreparably flawed".

The Irish Government remain uncommitted to this principle and have, so far, not
accepted that the conclusions of the Commission on Electronic Voting's report
call for major overhauls to the Nedap systems and the inclusion of a Voter



	Wij vertrouwen stemcomputers niet



Margaret McGaley:

	email: mmcgaley at cs.may.ie
	phone: 087 755 4023

Joe McCarthy:

	email:	joe.mccarthy at arkaon.com
	phone:	086 245 6788

Colm MacCárthaigh (In Amsterdam):

	email: colm at stdlib.net
	phone: +31 6 54242980


Irish Citizens for Trustworthy E-voting is an independent group of over
one hundred concerned citizens, IT & Security Practitioners, and Legal
Professionals calling for the introduction of a Voter Verified Audit
Trail with any E-voting system used in Ireland.

ICTE has a website available at


ICTE's main goals are:

    * to ensure that any electronic voting system introduced in Ireland
      meets the following criteria

        o it includes a Voter Verified Audit Trail (VVAT),
        o a booth is used, analogous to the traditional polling booth,

        o all development uses formal methods,

        o all source code is open to public scrutiny and audit.

    * to prevent the use of the Nedap/Powervote system in Irish Elections 
      until it meets said criteria

    * to prevent the purchase of any more equipment or software from
      Nedap/Powervote by the Irish Government unless the system being
      purchased meets said criteria.

-- Colm MacCárthaigh Public Key: colm+pgp at stdlib.net 
_______________________________________________ E-voting mailing list 
E-voting at lists.stdlib.net 
http://lists.stdlib.net/mailman/listinfo/e-voting http://evoting.cs.may.ie/

Colm MacCarthaigh wrote:
> Two weeks ago, I went to meet with the Dutch anti e-voting group;
> 	http://www.wijvertrouwenstemcomputersniet.nl/
> (We don't trust voting computers). They rock. With the help of a TV show
> there, they managed to get their hands on some Nedap voting machines.
> The machines are identical to what Ireland bought, except they lack the
> LEDs that we use to show preferences, and they only use one ballot
> module per machine, not two like in Ireland. There are some other
> differences, like they have no handles that were found to be neccessary
> in Ireland (for health and safety reasons), but those are minor things.
> Tonight, the group are going public on Dutch television (right now
> actually), and it will be up on youtube soon, right now there's a
> trailer linked from their site;
> 	http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzN3jWtsykw
> As we knew already, the machines run on m64k processors, and it's
> relatively easy to reverse engineer what all of the registers and inputs
> correspond to. The dutch group were able to successfull assemble code to
> run on the machine, and even burn it on the very eeprom that comes in
> the machine. They produced two main demonstrations;
> 	1. A rigged election. "confirm" the checksum, accept votes, but
> 	   to then misrecord the votes at the end of the day. The code even
> 	   includes some clever routines to determine if it's being
> 	   tested. It makes sure the votes were input reasonably 
> 	   randomly and over the course of a few hours. It would not be
> 	   detected in any of the routine tests.
> 	2. A chess program. Apparantly one of the vendors involved 
> 	   claimed that if voting machines were really computers, he'd
>    	   love to see them playing chess. So, they glued a paper chess
> 	   board to the machines inputs, put magnets on some chess
> 	   pieces and then compield up some chess libraries to run on
> 	   the machine. It even detects the moves automatically, and
> 	   can accurately tell if you've moved the pieces correctly
> 	   for its own move.
> Tha twas two weeks ago, they may well have done even more cool stuff 
> since then :-)
> >From our point of view, it's important to realise that these things are
> basically undetectable, everything looks the same externally. So only
> the very dodgy seals are our proection against this. Also having seen it
> myself, I have every reason to believe that this is all entirely
> compatible with the Irish machines, there are no significant
> differences.
> I think this is definitely a major opportunity for a press release, both
> to help our Dutch friends with some international support and to give us
> another opportunity to point out that the conclusions of the CEVs report
> actually did suggest many major and costly changes to this completely
> untennable system.
> I'm going to ring RTE's european affaris correspondent (I have his
> mobile) to see if they'll go to the press conference in Amsterdam
> tomorrow. I'm just waiting on the location and time details on the
> conference itself :-)
> Anyway, what say ICTE? time for one more Press release? Tonight is
> possibly a good time for it. Anyone willing to be quoted? I'll do up a
> first draft anyhoo!

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