Re: Diebold TSx Questions

From: Richard C. Johnson <dick_at_iwwco_dot_com>
Date: Fri Oct 06 2006 - 09:13:45 CDT

Then, there is the question of design and manufacture of hardware used for voting. If the Diebold is an exemplar of the insecure, which proprietary voting machine is secure? If one uses COTS hardware, which is more secure than the Diebold, if running Windows?
   
  I would think that a subset of a Linux distribution, with support for unwanted ports disabled, might do better than a physical lock on a port. This way, the intended Linux can be verified and, without a means of entry, the marooned port is less of a security hole. Then, too, not just adhesive but superglue put into the port would make it tough to use.
   
  Even so, there is the inside job against which nothing is secure. Corrupt officials can open any case, jigger contents, and reassemble with few tell-tale marks. Keeping machines on camera after checking and validating. having 24/7 machine/poll watchers, and locking up machines in secure storage can all help. Ultimately, elimination of partisan election officials is the first key step in preventing election fraud.
   
  Otherwise, you can make things difficult for the corrupt with Open Source voting applications and Open Source operating systems. Open Design voting hardware is the next big thing, and if lugs are required, they can be put in the design. Waiting for proprietary manufacturers of voting systems to add these features will take a very long time.
   
  -- Dick

"Douglas W. Jones" <jones@cs.uiowa.edu> wrote:
  
On Oct 1, 2006, at 5:36 PM, voting@lastland.net wrote:

> On Sun, 1 Oct 2006 01:13:56 -0600 (GMT-06:00), charlie strauss wrote
>>> From: Kathy Dopp
>>> What are the fundamental hardware flaws (just briefly) that would
>>> prevent a Diebold TSx from being turned into a decent open voting
>>> system?
>> Well the show stopper would be the Windows CE platform and possibly
>> video card drivers I suspect.
>
> Not to mention the firmware (e.g., BIOS) that can be used to load
> malware.

But the BIOS and Windows CE can all be replaced.

Of more significance, the case has poor physical security -- the case
needs molded in lugs for security seals, so that there is no need to
rely on flimsy tamper-evident adhesives.

Such lugs cannot be easily applied as afterthoughts. Among others, you
need seal lugs over at least two of the screws that hold the case shut,
as well as seal lugs by each external port (including the smartcard port
as well as the PCMCIA port).

You could, of course, dummy up a case with add-on lugs, but add-on seal
lugs are notorious as weak points -- see the attack on the TS sealing
system that Black Box Voting did.

Doug Jones
jones@cs.uiowa.edu

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Received on Tue Oct 31 23:17:04 2006

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