Major Diebold Voting Machine Security Hole Discovered… Again

from the and-yet,-we-still-use-them dept

It’s been, what, a little over a month since a report of the last major flaws found in Diebold machines, and we’ve already got new reports of what’s being described as a dangerous security hole in those machines. The vulnerability, which is still being kept mostly secret, appears to let someone upload new software to the machines with just a few minutes at the machines — potentially allowing them to change voting results on the machine. This is, clearly, a major issue — and certainly not the first one found on Diebold machines. In the past, we’ve seen reports about weak security, putting ballots online and unprotected, a default easy password used on all machines across the country, reports of miscounts on the machines, evidence that Diebold employees purposely hid security problems, claims that Diebold made last minute changes to voting machine software (in violation of election laws), evidence that other machines were easily hacked and a number of other problems with both the machines and people who worked at Diebold (such as the convicted felons who ran the unit that wrote the voting machine software). In all of this, the strangest thing has been Diebold’s unwillingness to make the simplest of changes that would make people feel more comfortable with the machines: adding a verifiable paper trail, so that the electronic votes could be double-checked later on. For no clear reason, the company has mostly refused to entertain the notion (though, they once said if they were forced to they would charge an exorbitant amount to scare election commissioners away from those machines).

At the same time, the company has repeatedly attacked those who published this information or pushed election officials to more thoroughly test the machines. In some cases, even when serious issues have been shown, the company has publicly laughed them off and then made life difficult for elections officials who are required by law to buy electronic voting machines, by doing things like making them sign contracts that won’t allow these types of security tests. In fact, the whole reason this new serious vulnerability came to light was because of a security test done on the machines for a county elections official in Utah in March. You remember… that was the case where Diebold claimed such tests were a violation of their warranty, and they demanded $40,000 to “recertify” the machines. Because of this, the election official who dared to have the machines tested was yelled at by his superiors and lost his job. Considering it was those tests that discovered this flaw that has Pennsylvania, California and Iowa quickly telling its election officials to “sequester” all of these Diebold machines until they can be updated — doesn’t it seem like Diebold and Utah state election officials owe that local election official a bit of an apology?

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Comments on “Major Diebold Voting Machine Security Hole Discovered… Again”

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ElectricMayhem says:

Voting Machine Security

I read this story with mounting fear…..who exactly is diebold? we have a firm here in the uk called capita who seem to get all the gov contracts….they are hallmarked as being grossly incompetent, vastly over priced but in general are just morons…..Diebold sound positively dangerous and evil!!

mind you, gives a great excuse for an attack on the us by some country which believes it should bring in freedom and democracy to the down trodden masses and citizens. What better excuse eh!

Republican GUn (user link) says:

Mofo Republicans

“mofo republicans! they own everything. can’t win an election fairly, so lets rig it!…nothing will ever get done to fix these things…god our whole system is worthless…we stopped being free and democratic many many moons ago!”

Another shining example of why the democrats keep losing…because they pander to idiots like the one above. Election fraud is nothing new and to be fair I believe the Dems in Chicago are usually the ones getting caught for election tampering.

Heraclitus says:


This s a classic example of getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar. While D’s have their own history, no one has fine tuned the art as well as the R’s. Diebold contributes heavily to the R’s, get the contract to create the voting machine and then….2000 R’s get the Whitehouse and Congress (under questionable circumstances), 2004 it happens again. If this doesn’t frighten you… please go to the shed to have your tool sharpened.

Anonymous Coward says:

whether you idiots understand it or not diebold is a business, adn they act like one, scheming, and just trying to make money, personally i think democrats are treehuggers and republicans hicks with guns, you all bitch adn whine about whose better, does that make you any better than they themselves? sweeden has a great example of the people pushing for a greater country they made a piracy political party, ALL you have to do to change this country is band together and find a cause so others will join you, ya the democrats and republicans will start out calling you a publicity stunt, but what do you think the english called them before the revolutio, to change people must open their eyes. heres a link to sweedens freedom:

Anonymous Coward says:

While D’s have their own history, no one has fine tuned the art as well as the R’s.

Like pushing for no ID voter registration in areas with high illegal immigrant populations? Like trading crack for votes? The biggest difference between the Republicans and Democrats is at least the Republicans are effective cheats, i.e. at least they win. Democrats have mastered the art of f’cking up a wet dream; cheat, still don’t win, and get caught being it so you (and the people that supported you) look like pathetic losers.

Bubba Nicholson (profile) says:


Remember Watergate? Iran-Contra? Republicans organize front companies to hack elections, deny voting rights, and disrupt Democratic campaigns by intimidating contributors, assaulting campaign workers, and commiting petty vandalisms. (All our tires seem to go flat right the afternoon of the big fundraiser.)

Democrats recognize that we need electronic voting, we need the potential improvement in accuracy, lower costs, and all the good things that improving technology can provide. We cannot afford to fund counter-terrorists. We depend on volunteers and honest individuals to alert the police to criminal behavior, and we depend on prayer that God may save our nation from the depravity and depravations of the serial killers (Bush, Sr.) and serial rapists (Bush, Jr.) and their henchmen running the republican party in America.

Mike Mixer (profile) says:


The fact that you consider republicans to be the beneficiaries of election fraud is a good example of how news organizations have been bought by the democratic party. Let’s just for a moment think about what having an election open for bidding means, John Kerry and John Edwards certainly could have won the election if the machines were being tampered with on a widespread scale because anybody that will take a bribe will certainly take a much larger bribe to change his stripes.

We know that money almost always wins elections,

even more so than popularity, so we passed laws to supposedly limit the amount of money that you can can tribute to a candidate. Why don’t you track down the money behind Diebold, I think you would be surprised at the diversity of shareholders which means that both parties have the potential to rig the elections they want to win and maybe even get together to decide in advance who gets what.

Fatal Vector says:

Re: Re:

The young people see voting as a waste of their time because the incumbents allmost allways win re election since they have the money and the voters rarely take the time to find out about other cantidates, or, just vote along party lines.

The real problem is the incumbents who are in office 30 or 40 years or more. The prime example being Strom Thurmond, who was 92 and died in office. There are others, like Byrd, Spector and Kennedy (do you realize there has been someone from the Kennedy clan in congress forever?), among others.

This is why nothing of any substance gets done, as these are the “old boys” who collectively run congress and, therefore, the country. It’s their way or the highway and screw you if you dont like it.

Daniel says:

Careful with this "automated" voting systems

This type of voting systems are not reliable from my point of view. In Venezuela, they had a referendum (yes or no only) and the machines and the database was a black box for everyone. There were no fair audit or anyway that system was working correctly, since the whole electoral system was being held by the goverment party. The result is that nobody trust the electoral system now. Speak up and stand up America, don’t let politicians steal our rights!

Anonymous Coward says:

Republicans organize front companies to hack elections, deny voting rights, and disrupt Democratic campaigns by intimidating contributors, assaulting campaign workers, and commiting petty vandalisms. (All our tires seem to go flat right the afternoon of the big fundraiser.)

Well at least the Dems van just break, as opposed to having 25 vans systematically vandalized by the son of the Chairman of the state Kerry/Edwards campaign.…Or experiance incidents of having shots fired into their campaign headquarters.

…Or having their 3 year old daughters assaulted for holding a sign.

Do the people that invented urban machine politics, that brought us Boss Tweed and Richard J. Daley, really, really want to try and lecture us about institutional corruption?

Chris says:

Welcome to America

Personaly, I’m surprised that everyone’s up in arms. These issues have been know previous to the inception of electronic voting machines. If it’s electronic, it’s going to have flaws, flaws that will be fixed, then just gotten right back around. The solution isn’t electronic voting, the solution is rubbing out the 2 party system and the electoral college.

Republicans and Democrats are just a bunch of people who join up to a party to get the contributions. Want to be elected into office? Choose your party that most identifys with your views, then push their agend and watch the money roll in. Diebold has a president, and CEO, and a lovely bunch of board members. These people sell stocks, people buy large quanties of them, and the people who hold the most get to push their agenda unto the company. Business, quite generaly, is driven by it’s investors. Appeal to your investor and your business will succeed. Why should Diebold and the Reubplicans be any different?

Rebulicans = Bible Thumpers
Democrats = Treehuggers

This is the view that many people hold, and many people align themselves with (however not so crass the terminolgoy). So with the 2 party system pick that party that has the majority of your views. The problem being, that the miniority of your views will never be given equal play. For all intensive purposes they’re not even regarded as such. So now you’ve got your candidates, vote for your party regardless of it’s spokesman, beacuse it’s all about pushing the party agenda.

Anytime someone runs outside the norm, they get their faced rubbed in the dirt by smear tactics. It all disolves into the name calling game we remember so well from K-12. Belittle your opponet with benign factoids and you’ll turn them into the schoolyard nerd.

Campaigns are run by contributions, contributions come from big buisness, and buisness runs america. The only way were going to see a change in this country is if people become educated about how much they’re being rraped. However, look at goverment spending and you’ll see where our “investments” are going; right to the military that’s supplied by a vast array of industry. Give an american a tax cut and they’ll vote you to office. Cuz the people who know whats really going on, know their vote doesn’t really account to much. Look at who won the peoples vote, then look who got voted in, and tell me there isnt someone behind the curtain pulling all the strings. Goverment leads to corruption, case closed.

“Democray is the right for the majority to be wrong.”

“Pepople demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use”

Bits says:

It is about Trust

If politicians want people to accept electronic voting in general, the companies who produce the codehardware need to win over voters confidence.

Our spineless politicians and elections officials let these companies away with these security holes (I don’t care about what party they belong to, Dems, Republicans, Green, organge, or independant, they all allow this to happen)

I say find a way to hack these things on election day and hack the HELL out of them so one of our first president, George Washington is again elected into every open government seat. That will get the attention of elections officials, Dibold, and the general public.

Jim says:


The electoral college was brought about as compromise to the states, as a way to maintain some importance of the individual states in national voting. (I’m not expressing this very well, but a PolySci student could expand upon this).
Eisenhower was very concerned about the military industrial complex. He said, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” (cite)

I am pro-business, in fact I am starting my second business now. However, the ease at which profits can be turned into political power is why our government/political system has been skewed from protecting people to protecting business. It is unlikely that I will ever have millions of dollars to give to politicians, or the hundreds of millions of dollars to give to lobbyists (the real important money). That means I am going to be less influential than those business that can.
In addition, businesses (and those that own/run them) are generally the only entities that even have the ability to have something like profits. There are few people that have income in the millions that don’t own/run businesses. What then is their concern? That their business expand through favorable government policies.
For some businesses, there is a greater return on investment in influencing government than spending money on their primary industry/market.

Chris says:

Rebutle to Jim

Yes the electoral college was put in place to help protect those views of the individual state. This all fine and dandy, the problem however, is it’s the determining factor in recent elections; i.e. the peoples’ vote has become almost irrelevant.

The point I was trying to make about goverment spending in the military is that it’s so much more than anything else that it’s almost rediculous. Take a look at our Foreign Policy and the only theme you see transcending across our FP to all coutnires is containment. Any time there’s a nationaly that has a different view (more “extreme”) than ours we try and contain them. Simply put the US and other leading nations are the reason why Africa and South America, who have vast and plentiful resources, are still 3rd world countries.

Now you might say that the reason we have to keep our military strong is to ward off threats like Bin Laden. For those of you without a histroy lesson let me give you a VERY brief one. Iran and Russia were fighting, the US gave bin laden power and weapons to help beat out Russia. Once Russia was gone the weapons remained. Then the Iran-Contra scandal happened. The UFC (united fruit company) said that a revolutions who was trying to give his land back to the people was communist. Thanks to the help of the CIA, and smuggling weapons through Iran to a AWOL group of marines (CONTRA), this revolutionist was hunted down and murderd; along with many others. THIS is what pissed many people off. The fact the US enacted an arms trade embargo then went right around it to screw innocent people.

Africa’s a whole different story, but more or less the US and much of the world has turned a blind eye to civil unrest beacuase it’s a means to quell “competition.”

Anyway, the US has to spend so much $$ on the military becuase it spends so much less $$ on education. A high school student from the 50’s general had more knowledge than a college student with an AA. Tell your typical american that the US put Sadamn and Bin Laden into power and they’ll tell you you’re full of it. Iggnorance is the problem in america, and until we educate the masses about the outside world we are going to continue to have international relation problems.

Victoria Parks (user link) says:

HAVA/Diebold/Ney/Abramoff connection

I have been on top of this story for a year and a half. In the corporate-controlled media I, and others like me, have been maligned, misprepresented, marginalized, minimized, dismissed, denounced, demonized, demoralized, and just plain treated like dirt. Well, vindication feels good but I expect no apologies from the complicit media who were more than happy to place the unwanted tin-foil hats on our heads. I got over their demonizing long ago and just learned to laugh at them because I was confident in my knowledge. All that aside, actions speak louder than words.

Here is a tidbit ALL Americans should be aware of: In 2002, HAVA was written in soon-to-be-indicted Congressman Bob Ney’s office with the help of Jack Abramoff, the then Political Director of a K-Street lobby firm Greenberg Traurig. HAVA is a lie. Most Americans have been foolishly led to believe HAVA was written to address the bungled Florida election in 2000—wrong. HAVA was written for the vendors. In this same period when HAVA was written, Greenberg Traurig received 275 thousand dollares from—you guessed it, Diebold Corporation! HAVA, what we voting reform activists in Ohio refer to as the “Hack America’s Vote Act”, appears now more to be a clandestine plot to keep Republicans in power and to funnel huge amounts of tax dollars into the hands of their vendor friends. Oh, and don’t think ES&S is all shining and innocent. Both Global Elections Systems (later bought by Diebold) and ES&S, Sen. Chuck Hagel’s baby (these 2 companies count 80% of America’s vote), were started by the brothers Bob & Todd Urosevich (insert Godfather music here) who hired convicted computer hacking felons as their first hires, including Jeffrey Dean (23 convictions, computer fraud). Now that Dean is out of jail, he is engaged in the voter registration business. Scary, isn’t it? And the compiler code he wrote? It is still being used. So, if they weren’t before, now your eyes are wide open, aren’t they? We have criminals controlling our elections which are now fully privatized by them and their ilk. Whether or not we want a Constitutional crisis, we have one.

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