Brazil E-Voting Machines Not Hacked... But Van Eck Phreaking Allowed Hacker To Record Votes

from the there's-an-issue-there dept

Last week, we noted that an attempt to let hackers crack e-voting machines in Brazil failed, but Slashdot points out that someone did use some Van Eck phreaking to figure out who people voted for. While that's not quite the same as hacking the results of an election, it could lead to questions about privacy and how anonymous voting really is. Of course, to some extent, this has always been a risk with e-voting systems, but it hasn't received that much attention.


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(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Cyanid Pontifex (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 6:04pm

    I was unaware that Van Eck Phreaking was still a serious threat to anything these days. Now, to my knowledge, the person who is intercepting the signal must be fairly close to the source. Shouldn't preventing individuals with monitoring devices from loitering around the voting area eliminate this problem?

     

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      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 7:02pm

      Re:

      Yeah, and WiFi only works over tens of feet. Unless you have access to Pringles.

      Actually, that suggests another weakness. You might be able to EMP the system.

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 7:19pm

        Re: Re:

        one could also influence a paper vote in a similar way an EMP could affect an electronic voting system... KILL IT WITH FIRE!!

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 8:15pm

      Re:

      Now, to my knowledge, the person who is intercepting the signal must be fairly close to the source.

      As you admitted, your knowledge is somewhat lacking in this area. It all depends on what you call "fairly close" and how good your equipment is. We can receive weak signals from small spacecraft out past the edge of the solar system.

      Shouldn't preventing individuals with monitoring devices from loitering around the voting area eliminate this problem?

      What are you going to do, strip search everyone in the area?

       

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      Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 8:34pm

      Re: Not Still A Serious Threat?

      Cyanid Pontifex wrote:

      I was unaware that Van Eck Phreaking was still a serious threat to anything these days.

      Well, nobody told James Clerk Maxwell that his equations no longer apply.

       

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    they are hackable, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 6:37pm

    explanation

    A) sniff data
    B) use massive 1 million person botnet as a super computing crack machine for HACKING said data.
    C) return in 2 days for what said data was.
    D) BE STUPID AND USE SAID TECH THIS WAY.

     

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    identicon
    inc, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 7:41pm

    amazing how Brazil is trying to at least get e-voting right... a lot more then I can say for other countries..

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 8:53pm

    And?

    The risk of your e-voting machine getting Van Ecked seems comparable to the risk of there being a spy camera trained on your dead-tree voting booth.

    Voting privacy has never been and can never be guaranteed.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 8:59pm

    e-voting in the end is a fail in a many ways. "getting it right" really means unplugging the stupid thing.

    The best evote system? A screen that helps you make your selections, and then prints out your finished ballot. You then take your printed ballot to another machine, where it is stored (secured) and then counted ONLY at the end of the voting period (not on the run).

    The machine that helps you vote doesn't record your choices. Every print is also an erase. End of problem. Now you have printed ballots for recounts, no loss of data because of machine failures, and no real way to hack the system on the fly (because the voter can recheck their printed ballot before submitting it). The machines don't have to be network connected in any manner.

    Too much technology is the problem.

     

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    Ryan, Nov 24th, 2009 @ 1:04am

    trivial coincidence

    I was reading, not ten minutes ago, the chapter in Cryptonomicon where some Van Eck phreaking takes place.

    off topic: pop-ups on Techdirt? Is that new?

     

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    SETI, Nov 24th, 2009 @ 2:44am

    "We can receive weak signals from small spacecraft out past the edge of the solar system." - ROFTL

    Point your big ass radio telescope towards the voting machine, will ya?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2009 @ 4:19am

      Re:

      "We can receive weak signals from small spacecraft out past the edge of the solar system." - ROFTL

      Point your big ass radio telescope towards the voting machine, will ya?


      Not needed. I think you lack a sense of the scale of comparative magnitudes involved.

      Voyager 1 is currently almost 10 billion miles from earth and we can still receive it on the 70-meter Deep Space Station at Goldstone, California. Now compare that to the distance of a van parked a tenth of a mile from a polling place. That's a factor of about 100 BILLION. Now, doing *a lot* of simplification just for ballpark numbers, how big is an antenna that's 70 meters divided by 100 billion in diameter? Hint: it's way too small for you to see with the naked eye. Think that's too big? Still ROTFL?

       

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    SETI, Nov 24th, 2009 @ 5:00am

    "...how big is an antenna that's 70 meters divided by 100 billion in diameter?"

    So it's all about diameters, right? ROTFL even harder.

    Now stop bragging and theorising and prove it. A link to The Onion will do. In the meantime start here

    http://wps.prenhall.com/esm_chaisson_BG4/10/2716/695393.cw/index.html

    and get help here

    http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/forum_forum.php?id=9

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2009 @ 10:29am

      Re:

      So it's all about diameters, right? ROTFL even harder.

      Not at all, and that was the whole the point I was making. You, however, were the one trying to pretend that it would require a very large antenna (or "big ass radio telescope" as you put it) and now that your ignorance has been exposed you're trying to pretend otherwise. Keep on laughing, the joke is on you.

      Now stop bragging

      Umm, bragging? About what?

      and theorising and prove it. A link to The Onion will do. In the meantime start here

      One of things we electrical engineers do is rely on theory. If you'd like to post some links to some reliable engineering sources to support your contention that receiving the electromagnetic emanations from the machines involved would require radio telescopes, then go ahead. I'm not holding my breath on that one though.

       

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    OC, Nov 24th, 2009 @ 7:57am

    Improvement?

    "... someone did use some Van Eck phreaking to figure out who people voted for"

    Considering that the current systems seem to have a problem with this basic requirement, maybe this should be seen as an improvement rather than a problem.

     

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    vic bang, Sep 6th, 2011 @ 12:19pm

    Van Eck

    Present authorities pretend to install electronic voting systems in Mexico. Universities and NGO´s oppose.

    We would like to contact an expert in computer science and technology for an assessment over vulnerability of electronic voting due to the Van Eck Phreaking, or other phenomenon that could possibly affect, interfere or allow to monitor an activity wish secrecy is protected by law.

    We will highly appreciate any contact information sent to the following address.

    vicbang13@hotmail.com

     

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  •  
    identicon
    vic bang, Sep 6th, 2011 @ 12:20pm

    Van Eck

    Present authorities pretend to install electronic voting systems in Mexico. Universities and NGO´s oppose.

    We would like to contact an expert in computer science and technology for an assessment over vulnerability of electronic voting due to the Van Eck Phreaking, or other phenomenon that could possibly affect, interfere or allow to monitor an activity wish secrecy is protected by law.

    We will highly appreciate any contact information sent to the following address.

    vicbang13@hotmail.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
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    Siliconjon (profile), Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 1:08pm

    Aftermarket Comments

    Does posting a comment in an article boost/bump it anywhere on this site?

     

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