Re: Triad Systems and Ohio Recount

From: Edmund R. Kennedy <ekennedyx_at_yahoo_dot_com>
Date: Thu Dec 23 2004 - 16:32:02 CST

Hello Charley:
 
     Apart from obvious things like looking for serial numbers and fingerprints what are the forensic methods of determing if hardware has been swapped out? Does hardware generate it's own, unique, repeatable, readable signature like a hash of software should?
 
Thanks, Ed Kennedy

charlie strauss <cems@earthlink.net> wrote:
I fully agree the issue here is not whether machines were fixed but the problems crated by allow a situation there they could be fixed without detection.

So it's worth recognizing that it's inevitable that repairmen will get called to fix all sorts of goofy situations like votes stuck in a machine that crashed and wont reboot to fixing bugs discovered a week before the election to getting machine up and running before the election.

If the person supervising the repeair man were perfectly tech savvy perhaps we would have no worries. But as any geek knows that when you helping someone non-techincal with their computer you have almost unlimited power to do all sorts of "fun" things if you were so inclined. So slipping someting by a poll worker or even county clerk techincal officer would not be that hard. For example, I walk up and say I have a patch for the spanish language font files. Sounds harmless. But how do they know what I just did, did not do more.

Thus minimnally, any "patch" really needs to be considered the same as a wholesale replacement of the OS. Checksums published against approved versions, etc...

Pathcing software is of course a relatively easy question. What about replacing a video card in the computer or replacing a chip on the motherboard right before an election to get the computer working. One ought to have protocols defined.

I think that's the less on from TRIAD. It's not that repairmen should not be allowed in, or that they have to be supervised, but that even deeper sets of access rules are needed to be pre-defined.

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Received on Fri Dec 31 23:17:19 2004

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