Yesterday a United Kingdom website called The Register posted a story stating:
Computer scientists have demonstrated a hack that uses off-the-shelf hardware to tamper with electronic voting machines that millions of Americans will use to cast ballots in the 2012 presidential elections.
I checked a few of the sites I use for fact checking and couldn’t find anything on this story. It could be that the story is too new or it could be that the story is true. I am hoping that the story is not true, but I suspect it is.
The article further reports:
In a video demonstration, researchers from the Vulnerability Assessment Team at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois showed how the card could be used to briefly kill the power to the voting machine’s touch screen to temporarily black out what’s displayed so voters can’t see their choices being modified. Using optional hardware costing about $15, they showed how attackers can remotely tamper with machines from distances as far away as half a mile.
The article does point out that in order to make any large-scale changes to the machines results, you would have physical access to the machines and you would have to change a number of them. Theoretically, if the machines are properly watched, hacking would not be possible. The form of attack on the voting machines mentioned in the article involved modifying the inside of the machines to allow the results of the machine to be tampered with. The video at The Register website demonstrates how this is done.
The article reports that the particular machine described in this report is used in several states:
The AccuVote TS is used in several states, including Maryland and Georgia, although voting officials in some jurisdictions have phased out its use because the DRE, or Direct Recording Electronic, voting system typically offers no print out. That makes it particularly hard to audit results.
Honest elections are an important part of our government. This is a something that needs to be investigated.