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Reply #13: Diebold claims that there is no executable code... [View All]

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riqster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-20-06 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Diebold claims that there is no executable code...
But that is not precisely the case. What Diebold loads on the cards is a template that contains the candidates, contests, and such, and is supposed be set to zero for all contests. That is not necessarily 'executable code' (which is how they are trying to dodge the issue), depending on how one defines the term. Its purpose is to order the data on the card so that the voting device knows where to put the votes, and for the tabulator to know where to find them.

One hack that Harri did involved pre-loading some candidates with values greater than zero. (There is no way to detect the effects of this hack withour a full manual recount, and to find out which card was altered would be difficult or impossible after the fact, depending on how the system is configured, but in the case of optical scan systems, the vote itself could be saved and the election decided by the voters with a full manual recount.)

However, it IS possible to place executable code on the card, and given the sloppy chain of custody for these cards, it would be easy and undetectable. That is what Harri did with the "Are we having fun yet?" message hack. One could alsochange the oucome of an election with executable code on the card, by re-assigning votes to different candidates.
Anyone with an elementary knowledge of programming, or for that matter anyone who can follow a list of instructions, could hack one of the cards.

BTW, the chain of custody makes the question of 'who programs our cards' irrelevant. If they are not locked up tighter than a Minuteman silo; if there are insufficient controls or audits on the programming process; or if there is any network connectivity (wireless or wired) between the programming location and any other digital device, the cards are vulnerable, and so too is the election. During transportation, or if anyone else comes into the tabulation/voting area, integrity can be compormised.
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