This has not been a good week for e-voting companies. First came the report out of California that the security had problems
on every machine tested by independent security experts, followed quickly by security experts finding problems with other machines in Florida
. This should come as no surprise. Every time a security expert seems to get a chance to check out these machines, they find problems. What was odd, though, about the announcement on Monday coming out of California, was that the state had only released some of the reports
. It left out the source code review. However, late Thursday, the source code reports were finally released and things don't look much better. Apparently all of the e-voting machines are vulnerable to malicious attacks
that could "affect election outcomes." The report also points out: "An attack could plausibly be accomplished by a single skilled individual with temporary access to a single voting machine. The damage could be extensive -- malicious code could spread to every voting machine in polling places and to county election servers." This, of course, is what others have been saying for years, and which Diebold always brushes off. Ed Felten has gone through the reports and is amazed to find that all of the e-voting machines seem to have very similar security problems
-- and that many problems that Diebold had insisted it fixed in 2003 were still present. Remember how Diebold had used the master password "1111"
in their machines? Now their machines use hard-coded passwords like "diebold" and (I kid you not) "12345678." At some point, isn't it time for Diebold (and the other e-voting machine makers) to stand up and admit that their machines aren't secure and, in fact, were never secure? At the very least, the company owes the world a huge apology -- but somehow, given its past behavior
whenever its machines are shown as insecure, that seems unlikely to happen.