Posted: February 23, 2012 by aliceaitch in FAIL, Fun with Elections, Geektasticity, Government FAIL

Paper ballots FTW.

Responding to a call by Washington, D.C., election officials for outsiders with no previous access to test system security, Halderman and his students penetrated the pilot system within 48 hours of it going online. Their successful attack went undetected for another 36 hours, they say, despite the fact that they left a calling card in the form of having the vote confirmation screen to play the University of Michigan fight song after 15 seconds. Even then, the detection didn’t occur because D.C. officials spotted anomalies in intrusion detection system logs, or even stumbled on the fight song itself, but because someone on a mailing list monitored by the city asked, “does anyone know what tune they play for successful voters?”

RTWFA to experience the full horror – the revealing of secret ballots, the ability to forge ballots, and the capability to vote using someone else’s credentials are just a few of the ways this voting system was swiss-cheesey.  I think there’s a good chance Washington, DC could recoup some of the development costs, though, by selling the package to unions – secret ballots would no longer be an issue.

  1. Lemur King says:

    Nice find, aliceaitch.

    The generation of a huge PDF document was the coup de grâce.

    Time to go back to fill-in-the-dots with a #2 pencil and if you can’t accomplish that by coloring inside the dots get someone to assist. If that doesn’t work, then don’t vote. Even paper ballots are not secure but they haven’t improved upon that method yet.

    Dumbing down the process so even mutants and ruminants can vote doesn’t really result in better elections.

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