Diebold Brushes Off Yet Another Damning Security Report

from the accountability? dept

Just a day after Avi Rubin discussed many of the real world problems of some Diebold e-voting machines in action, Ed Felten has come out with his quite damning independent review of the machines -- noting just how problematic the security is and how easy it was to upload malicious programs (including a virus that could spread dangerous software from machine to machine). This is hardly the first time we've seen such a report, but it seems like each report is progressively worse. By this point, you'd have to have lived in a hole to believe e-voting machines are secure. Diebold, in typical fashion, has responded not by admitting to any problems, but by attacking Felten's report -- claiming that his test (done on a machine acquired just a few months ago) was based on older software. Still, given the sheer number of reports of security problems with Diebold machines over the years, it's quite difficult to believe that between a couple months ago and now, they've solved all the security issues. In fact, given Rubin's report from yesterday -- it sounds like their "security measures" are so weak as to be a joke. What's most amazing of all is that Diebold continues to act defiantly about this, despite overwhelming proof that their machines have tremendous fundamental problems. Given the importance of secure and accurate elections, Diebold's continued denial of problems and attitude that there's no problem at all should concern just about everyone. Yet, it seems like they're being used almost everywhere.

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  1. identicon
    just one guy, 14 Sep 2006 @ 12:31am

    Two months to fix the bugs...

    it's quite difficult to believe that between a couple months ago and now, they've solved all the security issues

    Mike, I don't think that yours is the real point here. You (as we) still have no clue of whether they in fact have solved or not the bugs of their software. I think the reason to dismiss Diebold's response should be more based on reflections such as:

    • How many copies of the "old" bug-ridden software have been installed on machines used in past elections?
    • How therefore can we be sure that those elections were fair?
    • How did you dare at the time be so confident that no problems existed?
    • How many of those machines are still around and will be used in further elections?
    • Given the abysmal results of their internal quality control unit in the past, what have they done internally to make sure not only that their past bugs were solved, but that no more bugs have been introduced, and that their released software is now safe?

    I think that the real issue here is that Diebold keeps on considering election software as just any desktop applications, and behave accordingly as if disclosure of trade secrets to competition were the only relevant issue.

    Their change of attitude is more important than their bug fix: election software is a mission critical software that MUST be independently validated before it is allowed to run and control the most fundamental aspect of modern democracies, such as the vote.

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