10 May 2006

New security glitch found in Diebold system

May 10, 2006

Armed with a little basic knowledge of Diebold voting systems and a standard component available at any computer store, someone with a minute or two of access to a Diebold touch screen could load virtually any software into the machine and disable it, redistribute votes or alter its performance in myriad ways.

Here are the details. Built into the software that runs the Diebold machines is a piece of code called an interpreter. This is similar to the BASIC language found on older computers like the Apple II, the Commodore 64, etc. The interpreter accepts instructions written in a specific language, translates them into executable instructions, and then executes those instructions.
What Black Box voting has found is that when a memory card is inserted into the Diebold machines, the software quickly checks the memory card for files written in that special language. If none are found, the machine operates normally and can pass all inspections and tests for accuracy. But, if the particular memory card inserted into the machine, on election day, has a file written in that special language, that file is read by the interpreter and the instructions carried out. Such a program can change vote results, erase audit trails, and even erase the program file on the memory card to conceal what has been done. The person inserting the card may not even know what is going on.

There is no reason for such an interpreter system to be in a voting machine. The theory of a voting machine is that the software is locked in and unchangeable. All it does is count button presses and save the record. There is no legitimate need for an on-board interpreter that looks for an executes programs on the vote tabulation memory cards.

The point is this; this interpreter proves that the problems with the voting machines are not "glitches". They are intentional functions designed into the systems, with the sole purpose of stealing elections for whomever the owners of the machines are working for.


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