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Carolab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:23 AM
Original message
E-voting critic issues challenge to hackers (no takers)
Edited on Sun Nov-14-04 01:28 AM by Carolab
Posted on Thu, Jul. 29, 2004

E-voting critic issues challenge to hackers

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A leading critic of paperless electronic voting machines issued a challenge Thursday to computer hackers attending their annual Black Hat conference, encouraging them to test whether it's possible to rig an election.

Rebecca Mercuri, a Harvard University-affiliated research fellow, encouraged hackers to inspect software code made available on the Internet by VoteHere, an electronic voting software company based in Bellevue, Wash., and called upon other voting machine vendors to make their codes and products available.

``I'm tired of hearing members of the election community say that no problems have occurred with electronic voting systems when every election there's plenty of newspaper reports of `glitches,''' said Mercuri, a founder of Notable Software Inc., a Philadelphia-based consulting firm.

Mercuri said her challenge was in response to a similar bet issued by Michael Shamos, a Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist and voting technology consultant. Shamos has promised $10,000 to anyone who can hack into a voting machine undetected.

Mercuri said Shamos' challenge was impossible since the industry employs restrictive trade secret agreements that make it a felony to examine the equipment even when it's not being used in an election.

But in a telephone interview from Pittsburgh, Shamos dismissed Mercuri's criticism.

``No one is going to take me up on this challenge,'' Shamos said, adding the question of influencing an election is moot because no one could do it without being detected.

``Anybody can hack into anything,'' Shamos said. ``I can break into a bank. The question is are they going to know the money is gone.''

VoteHere founder Jim Adler said his company published the code to its patented election security software hoping people would test it. Adler said the key to ensuring the integrity of e-voting is detection.

``This is not about preventing fraud. This is about detecting fraud,'' Adler said. ``What you want is to have enough transparency so you can detect when fraud happens.''


The concept of hacking an election has even been made into an upcoming novel, called ``The Mezonic Agenda: Hacking the Presidency,'' and an accompanying computer game, which was on display at the conference.

The object of the game, which is available on the Internet, is to control the fate of a mock U.S. presidential election.

Andrew Williams with Syngress Publishing said his company hopes the book will appeal to security experts and others who are interested in the integrity of electronic voting systems.

``Every single system is hackable,'' Williams said. ``There's no reason to believe this one isn't.''

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txindy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:29 AM
Response to Original message
1. They used the 'F' word multiple times! Fraud!
How daring of them. ;)

I like this. Challenging hackers? That's inspired. Highly-competitive computer experts turning down a public challenge. Hmmm. What're the odds? Probably the same as winning the presidency after being down so far in the exit polls. :evilgrin:
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Kralizec Donating Member (982 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:30 AM
Response to Original message
2. I'm sure this has been noted...
but i doubt anyone is going to admit to doing this, lol....
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Old and In the Way Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:46 AM
Response to Original message
3. Isn't the real issue internal hacking...not external? nt
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