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ES&S Voting Systems Now Found Vulnerable to Virus; EAC Refuses to Issue Warning

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BradBlog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-16-07 02:20 PM
Original message
ES&S Voting Systems Now Found Vulnerable to Virus; EAC Refuses to Issue Warning
Edited on Mon Apr-16-07 05:24 PM by Skinner
Source: The BRAD BLOG



EXCLUSIVE: ES&S TOUCH-SCREEN VOTING SYSTEMS FOUND VULNERABLE TO 'SERIOUS' VIRAL VOTE-FLIPPING ATTACK; U.S. ELECTIONS ASSISTANCE COMMISSION REFUSES TO ISSUE WARNING

Scientific Report Finds 'Serious Security Vulnerability' Similar to 'Princeton Diebold Virus Hack' in Widely Used iVotronic System, Allowing a Single Person to Change Election Results Across Entire County Without Detection


Despite GAO Confirmed Mandate to Serve as Info 'Clearinghouse', Embattled EAC Says They Will Take No Action to Alert Elections Officials, Public


-- By Michael Richardson and Brad Friedman

While revelations surrounding the mysterious 18,000 "undervotes" in the November 2006 U.S. House election between Christine Jennings and Vern Buchanan in Florida's 13th Congressional district continue to inform the nation about the dangers of electronic voting machines, new information has recently come to light exposing a shocking lack of responsible oversight by those entrusted with overseeing the certification of electronic voting systems at the federal level.

An investigation into what may have gone wrong in Sarasota's contested FL-13 U.S. House Election between Chrstine Jennings and Vern Buchanan has revealed a serious security vulnerability on all versions of the iVotronic touch-screen voting system widely used across the country. The iVotronic is a Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting machine manufactured by Elections Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S), the nation's largest distributor of such systems.

The vulnerability is said to allow for a single malicious user to introduce a virus into the system which "could potentially steal all the votes in that county, without being detected," according to a noted computer scientist and voting system expert who has reviewed the findings.

And yet, despite their federal mandate to serve as a "clearinghouse" to the nation for such information, a series of email exchanges between an Election Integrity advocate and officials at the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC), has revealed that the federal oversight body is refusing to notify states of the alarming security issue.

The recent email conversation shows that even in light of the EAC's review of the warning from the computer scientist who characterized the "security hole" as severe, needing to be "taken very seriously," and among the most serious ever discovered in a voting system, the EAC is unwilling to take action.

Recent reports by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have taken the EAC to task for a failure to meet their legislated mandate for informing the public and elections officials about such matters. However, a review of the email communications to and from the EAC's Jeannie Layson, show that the federal body is steadfast in their refusal to take action to alert either elections officials or the public about the security risk recently discovered by a team of eight noted computer scientists.

The EAC's current Chairwoman, Executive Director, Director of Voting System Certification and other top officials at both the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) and even the GAO were included in the series of email communications, The BRAD BLOG has learned.

The vulnerability was initially discovered by a panel of scientists convened by the State of Florida to study the possible causes for the FL-13 election debacle. The team's discovery revealed a design issue in the widely used iVotronic system could allow for a viral attack, by a single individual, which could then spread unnoticed throughout the electronic election infrastructure of an entire county.

A similar vulnerability was found in DRE touch-screen system made by Diebold last Summer by a team of computer scientists at Princeton University.

Attempts to seek information about EAC plans to notify other states and local jurisdictions who use the same vulnerable voting systems as the ones in FL-13 have been met with an astounding refusal, troubling denial, buck-passing, and a lack of accountability by the federal commission of Presidential-appointees.

Election integrity watchdog John Gideon, a frequent BRAD BLOG contributer and the Co-Director and Information Manager for VotersUnite.org, says that the security flaw pertains to "every ES&S iVotronic voting machine used in the US and overseas." A total of eight separate versions of the system --- without and without so-called "voter verified paper audit trail" (VVPAT)" printers --- all currently approved as qualified at the federal level, are affected, he explained...

COMPLETE EXCLUSIVE REPORT:
http://www.bradblog.com/?p=4396

Read more: http://www.bradblog.com/?p=4396
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-16-07 02:23 PM
Response to Original message
1. "Virus" sounds like an innocent infection.
Rather than a criminal conspiracy to steal elections.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-16-07 02:23 PM
Response to Original message
2. So, Who Wrote the Virus, Anyway?
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bearfan454 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-16-07 02:27 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. One of Rove's contract employees
You know it.
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OregonBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-16-07 02:45 PM
Response to Original message
4. Which states with Democratic governors use these machines? They need to be
informed as do the Secretaries of State for those states!! Maybe they can get the information out to the press since no one else will.
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BradBlog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-16-07 03:31 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Quite a few states...
...Use this particular system. I've got a database somewhere on this. Perhaps I'll try to put together a list.

In the meantime, if you check with your own SoS office in your own state (or own County's registrar) you'll be able to find out pretty quickly.

It's the ES&S iVotronic v.8 and v.9 -- with and without a so-called "paper trail" -- that is affected by this.

If the EAC isn't going to warn officials, then I guess it'll be up to US to do so!
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BradBlog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-16-07 06:36 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. 16 States Affected in All as far as I can tell...

Have checked in a database, and as far as I can tell, the number of states affected is 16.

They are all now listed here, with instructions on how to inform your SoS and/or County Election Officials:

http://www.bradblog.com/?p=4416

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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-16-07 10:14 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. did the report say this bug affected versions not studied?
I am wondering how the author applies this statement about Sarasota voting machines to other states that don't have the same version iVotronic?

Does the report says all other versions are affected, or is this all conjecture? It could be true, but we DONT know if for a fact that other versions are affected.

North Carolina and Ohio definitely do not have the same model of iVotronic as the machines studied in Sarasota. Any of the machines with the paper trail will have a different version than Sarasota.



Differences:

Sarasota Florida machines are paperless:
ES&S Unity 2.4.4.2
Election Reporting Manager 6.4.2.0
iVotronic DRE Firmware 8.0.1.2
Certified to 1990 Guidelines
12" screen

North Carolina machines have a paper trail:
ES&S Unity 3.0.1.0
Election Reporting Manager 7.1.2.0
iVotronic DRE Firmware 9.1.4.1
15" screen

You can also see a sample DRE ballot for Sarasota and
comparison one for Moore County NC here

http://www.ncvoter.net/d...Ballot_Comparison_06.pdf


Ohio has one of the 9.+ versions as well.

We had audits, and we had manual recounts in several contests in the state.

I will be happy to contact my State about this if you can get a
credentialed computer scientist to affirmatively state that
this bug affects all models.

I can't rely upon an anonymous computer scientist as advisor.

I believe that all voting systems should be examined, and when HR 811 is passed, we will finally have that opportunity.

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Benhurst Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-16-07 03:06 PM
Response to Original message
5. Recommended #4
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DavidDvorkin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-16-07 03:50 PM
Response to Original message
7. Refused to issue a warning!
They aren't even pretending now.
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badgervan Donating Member (745 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-16-07 04:58 PM
Response to Original message
8. Paper Record Needed
Anyone else with a Gannett owned newspaper in their area notice that really serious and damaging stuff like this either goes unreported, or stuck in the back of the paper in a short, obscure couple of inces? I just don't trust Gannett to report damaging stories to repubs like they should be reported, if they were totally unbiased.
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eagler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-16-07 06:13 PM
Response to Original message
9. Don't forget Chuck Hagel's strong ties to ESS
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-16-07 09:30 PM
Response to Original message
11. .
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lostnotforgotten Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-17-07 04:26 AM
Response to Original message
13. Personally Witnessed The ES&S Machines Flip Votes In 2004
The state and national democratic parties did nothing.

That's when I became an Independent.

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