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Voting Machines Can Be Easily Compromised, Symantec Demonstrates ( 217

An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes a report from CBS News: For the hackers at Symantec Security Response, Election Day results could be manipulated by an affordable device you can find online. "I can insert it, and then it resets the card, and now I'm able to vote again," said Brian Varner, a principle researcher at Symantec, demonstrating the device...

Symantec Security Response director Kevin Haley said elections can also be hacked by breaking into the machines after the votes are collected. "The results go from that machine into a piece of electronics that takes it to the central counting place," Haley said. "That data is not encrypted and that's vulnerable for manipulation."

40 states are using a voting technology that's at least 10 years old, according to the article. And while one of America's national election official argues that "there are paper trails everywhere," CBS reports that only 60% of states conduct routine audits of their paper trails, while "not all states even have paper records, like in some parts of swing states Virginia and Pennsylvania, which experts say could be devastating."
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Voting Machines Can Be Easily Compromised, Symantec Demonstrates

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Voting doesn't matter. Voting is for the 99% to make them feel better, and think they have some control.

    It doesn't matter who the POTUS is, who the FLOTUS is, or even who the SCROTUS is.

    Lobbying controls everything.

    Lobbyists write the bills, all the POTUS, and HOROTUS and SCROTUS do are sign them and collect their fee.

    Want to effect positive change? Don't vote, lobby!

    Join a lobbyist group, form a lobbyist group, or contribute to a lobbyist group.

    The only little slips of paper that mater in the US are green.

    • by Marcus Hamilton ( 4677507 ) on Saturday August 13, 2016 @08:14PM (#52697757)
      Trump is actually evidence against your claim. The establishment and lobbyists are terrified of him, and rightly so- he's an egomaniacal, xenophobic megalomaniac with a fuse the size of his tiny, tiny fingers. They tried everything they could to derail him, but he has tapped into the ugly side of American populism. Rage, fear, and authoritarianism have beaten the choice candidates of the monied elite. While I don't disagree that money in politics is a huge problem, I do disagree that voting is futile... but it only works with an educated, engaged populace.
      • by swb ( 14022 )

        That's a great concise summary of the Trump phenomenon.

        I do disagree that voting is futile... but it only works with an educated, engaged populace.

        Ultimately that's one of the dark attractions of authoritarianism, it allows you to remove the uneducated and disengaged populace from the franchise. Then you can have elections that matter.

  • by Rob Bos ( 3399 ) on Saturday August 13, 2016 @08:09PM (#52697731) Homepage

    I swear, some people have the memory of mayflies. The voting machine debacle has been with us for almost 20 years now. They've been proven to be trivially hackable, poorly documented, and lacking significant paper trails in MANY different jurisdictions for ages, now. Suddenly Trump mentions it, and it's this partisan issue? How many people here are so young that they don't remember the blatant corruption surrounding Diebold?

  • from 10 years ago.
  • When Pennsylvania tried to enact a voter ID law the people who voted for it (all Republicans) openly stated they could not point to a single act of voter fraud []. The best they could say was, "the number of voter fraud cases that are prosecuted are only a sliver of the fraud taking place because there is no system in place to detect fraud []."

    Which is a great work of circular reasoning. One can't show voting fraud has taken place but that's only because there isn't any way to detect it. If one can't detect
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I've never heard of a single person who was unable to buy alcohol because the requirements to get a photo id were too onerous. And yet, every year, we hear these sob stories about people who are too old/poor/dumb/whatever to get a photo id by November. I'm not buying it.

      The only reason anyone would oppose voter id laws is if they are directly interested in rigging elections.

  • its the same story for the last 16 years, gee I wonder why, your hiring some flunky lowest bidder to do a serious job

    nothing to see here move along

  • I am a poll worker in Virginia. From the very scant details on this particular hack, the apparent claim is that you can vote more than once by "resetting" the machine while in the booth and not touching any equipment. Well, if it is even technically possible to pull this off, within an hour we'd know that the votes in that precinct were off, because we do an hourly audit of the of the number of people who check in to vote vs. the number of votes that are cast. When we are off by even a count of 1 it is a major event, and triggers an immediate investigation. Any kind of mass attempt to defraud the count would be caught immediately. And, nearly 2 million people are eligible to vote in Virginia, so you'd have to pull off an enormous hack across multiple precincts. You'd most certainly wind up canceling the election, not swaying it.

    Virginia does not use direct-recording voting machines any more, we use machine-counted paper ballots. We decertified all our direct-recording machines two elections ago when it was discovered that in a couple of precincts the wireless local area network between machines were running with default administrative passwords. The scanning equipment we use is not networkable, and it is sealed with numbered seals. I do not believe it is possible to even do the hack suggested by the article any more.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Virginia voter here.

      The explanation given above is precisely what I experienced when I voted in the recent primaries. I'm a tech nerd in the security field and I had been disappointed that, in the past, 100% electronic voting was used - at least at my precinct.

      This year I was amused and also encouraged by the fact that the ballot was paper. At least there is a physical piece of proof that can't be remotely destroyed by a would be hacker.

      There is an electronic reader machine that accepts my own ballot that I

  • Paper and pencil. Mark an X and put it in a ballot box. Use a scanner to speed up counting at the end of the night.

    No source code to worry about. No computers to hack into. Works if the Internet goes down. No chads. Works the same in every city/province/state/country.

    • Their affection for the electric chair and more recently poison injection executions over the old, and more reliable means of execution, hanging, are further examples of this. The result is that their democratic process IS at risk.

    • Millions of people vote at once, and the results have to be counted, certified, and then shared with the national media within hours. Machine-counting is the only way to do that. Would you trust human counters to count millions of pieces of paper reliably? I wouldn't. People are terrible at repetitive tasks. But ANY machine can be hacked. The scanners of course have source code, and operating systems with drivers and all the rest of the threat surfaces of any general-use computer. In Virginia, the scanners

      • Human counters can do it reliably enough and fast enough. If the result is within a certain percentage (0.1% or 0.5%) then an automatic recount is performed. Plus because the paper ballots are kept any candidate can request for a recount to be performed with a valid reason. And as been pointed out a representative from each party is allowed to be present to view the vote counting to ensure that it is done fairly.

        Using a scanner to just count the results of paper ballots is still risky but it is very easy to

    • But that's tecnology that's at least 10 years old. That must mean it's somehow obsolete.

  • "I can insert it, and then it resets the card, and now I'm able to vote again,"

    Didn't he just overwrite his previous vote? "Vote again" is not necessarily the same as "cast two votes".

    Not to say there aren't problems, there certainly are, but there is a lot of lame in this article. Not helpful.

  • "40 states are using a voting technology that's at least 10 years old"

    I assume that would include paper ballots that are, unlike electronic voting machines, independently auditable should there be questions about the integrity of the voting process. Why, exactly, is that something that needs to be fixed with a probably flawed modern technology?

  • If the polls dont require voter ID....

  • I love these "sky is falling" videos. Kind of reminds me when Microsoft was bashing Linux.

    I hope emperor Trump takes care of this with his death squads. No more voting!

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker