Re: The need for third party review of security

From: Richard C. Johnson <dick_at_iwwco_dot_com>
Date: Thu Apr 19 2007 - 15:39:37 CDT

The ITAs do not do much testing of non-security features, either, as those skilled in the art can attest. The most revealing comment was that made by a Ciber (ITA) representative, "Just because we didn't have a test plan does not mean that we did not test the voting systems...".

Hmmm....yes, that is exactly what not having a test plan implies: you may beat on it all you want, but you are not "testing" the product.

There is no excuse not to have automated regression tests capable of putting an already certified software system to the test overnight. Most of the egregious failures to obey California law on retesting changed software are claimed to stem from "not enough time." Well, if the ITA had proper automated regression tests, they would have time. Beating on it does not count. Random human interactions (non-repeatable and hard to document) with the machine should be only a small part of the total testing. Most of these turkeys have not even heard of test coverage, test efficiency, or estimation of risk due to untested lines of code. So...yes, third party, but also skilled and open to public inspection.

Sorry about the rant, but I do have a few sensitive buttons, and this is one.

-- Dick

charlie strauss <cems@earthlink.net> wrote: here's the link:
http://www.wired.com/politics/security/commentary/securitymatters/2007/04/securitymatters_0419?currentPage=all

>
>The other day I posted a mention of the Secustick which was a thumb drive touted as being secure which turned out not to be. Bruce Schneier a noted writer on security matters riffs on that subject today and winds up pointing out that the market for lemons in security products occurs because of the indistinguishability of marketing claims, true from false. We all saw that in the rush to market of DRE systems without proper attention but plenty of claims about voting secrecy, robustness, audit-ability, and transparency. He says this can be avoided by a trusted and independent third party review organization.
>
>This adds to the case for OVC or a subsidiary to review and approve designs. Of course we had the ITA but that was not independent or open.
>____________________
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Received on Mon Apr 30 23:17:08 2007

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