Brad Friedman on the Princeton study
Thank God Salon has finally dumped Farhad Manjoo…
Hack the vote? No problem
Diebold, the e-voting-machine maker, has long sworn its systems are secure. Not so, says a new Princeton study. Converting votes from one candidate to another is simple.
By Brad Friedman
Sep. 13, 2006 Having reported extensively on the security concerns that surround the use of electronic voting machines, I anxiously awaited the results of a new study of a Diebold touch-screen voting system, conducted by Princeton University. The Princeton computer scientists obtained the Diebold system with cooperation from VelvetRevolution, an umbrella organization of more than 100 election integrity groups, which I co-founded a few months after the 2004 election. We acquired the Diebold system from an independent source and handed it over to university scientists so that, for the first time, they could analyze the hardware, software and firmware of the controversial voting system. Such an independent study had never been allowed by either Diebold or elections officials.
The results of that study, released this morning, are troubling, to say the least. They confirm many of the concerns often expressed by computer scientists and security experts, as well as election integrity activists, that electronic voting — and indeed our elections — may now be exceedingly vulnerable to the malicious whims of a single individual.
The study reveals that a computer virus can be implanted on an electronic voting machine that, in turn, could result in votes flipped for opposing candidates. According to the study, a vote for George Washington could be easily converted to a vote for Benedict Arnold, and neither the voter, nor the election officials administering the election, would ever know what happened. The virus could also be written to spread from one machine to the next and the malfeasance would likely never be discovered, the scientists said. The study was released along with a videotape demonstration.