NJ E-Voting machines easily hackable

Princeton Report Rips N.J. E-Voting Machines as Easily Hackable
Computerworld (10/27/08) Weiss, Todd R.

Electronic-voting machines used in New Jersey and elsewhere are unreliable and potentially prone to hacking, concludes a new report from Princeton University and other groups. The 158-page report was ordered by a New Jersey judge as part of an ongoing dispute over the machines.

The e-voting machines can be “easily hacked” in about seven minutes by anyone with basic computer knowledge, according to the report. The vulnerability could enable fraudulent firmware to steal votes from one candidate and give them to another. The machines can be hacked by installing fraudulent software contained in a replacement chip that can be installed on the main circuit board, which would be very difficult to detect, the report says.

The major problem is that there are numerous opportunities in the storage, distribution, and deployment of the machines where an unauthorized person could access and manipulate them without being detected.  Princeton University Andrew Appel, one of the authors of the report, says that such vulnerabilities cast doubts about the accuracy and reliability of the machines.

A group of public interest organizations are plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the state of New Jersey, arguing that the machines should be discarded because they cannot meet state election law requirements for security and accuracy. State officials who support the machines say they are adequate for the job.

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I think it’s interesting that I immediately think that the Republicans would hack the voting machines.  Leftover Watergate paranoia bias?

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