Re: About system clocks...

From: Ed Kennedy <ekennedyx_at_yahoo_dot_com>
Date: Thu May 05 2005 - 22:27:58 CDT


Here's an interesting little flash from the past in the archives concerning
system clocks.

For your own searching convenience, here's the address to the archive

Thanks, Edmund R. Kennedy
Always work for the common good.
10777 Bendigo Cove
San Diego, CA 92126-2510
I blog now and then at: <>
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ron Crane" <>
To: "Open Voting Consortium discussion list" <>
Sent: Wednesday, May 04, 2005 4:06 PM
Subject: Re: [OVC-discuss] About system clocks...
> On May 4, 2005, at 3:33 PM, Jim March wrote:
>> Ron Crane wrote:
>>> On May 4, 2005, at 2:56 PM, Jim March wrote:
>>>> Are there any common PC BIOSes that allow blocking of date/time 
>>>> changes?  This has an effect on the accuracy of the audit log.  If I'm 
>>>> a hacker and want to "add votes" later, changing when the votes appear 
>>>> to have been added by rebooting and getting into BIOS setup to change 
>>>> the time is an old trick...
>>> I don't know, but many BIOSes provide passwords. If the key management 
>>> I've seen elsewhere is any indication, the passwords probably are stored 
>>> as plaintext in a flash RAM, but, since recovering them (or replacing 
>>> the flash RAM) requires physical access to the machine, they potentially 
>>> provide some security. Of course, they may also have backdoors, or even 
>>> provide an official way to reset the password to a known value.
>>> -R
>> Yeah, I know about BIOS passwords.  I'm looking for something more 
>> stringent.
>> You know how to defeat the BIOS password?  Find the CMOS memory chip on 
>> the motherboard, typically near the battery.  Take any straight piece of 
>> metal, a paperclip will do, and lay it across the CMOS memory chip pins 
>> one row at a time (typically square hence four rows).  This "blows the 
>> contents" of CMOS memory.  You lose all the BIOS settings and have to 
>> re-enter them and reset the date/time - but you also blow out the 
>> password.
>> Haven't had to do that in a number of years...six or seven?  Anyways, 
>> have things gotten better either standard or by special order?
> I suspect there are no longer dedicated CMOS chips in modern systems. 
> Probably the entire system core lives on a single ASIC. That's what I'd do 
> if I wanted to cut costs.
> -R
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Received on Tue May 31 23:17:22 2005

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