Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart
A video taken of a touchscreen voting machine in Pennsylvania refusing to capture an Obama vote, and instead casting the vote for Romney, was uploaded to Reddit this morning. The video garnered almost 37,000 upvotes and served up a painful 18 second flashback to post-2004 fear of “stolen votes.” After hitting Reddit, the video immediately went viral, ricocheting across news websites and Twitter feeds.
The Argonne National Laboratory’s Vulnerability Assessment Team specializes in assessing security weaknesses. They examine physical devices like locks, seals, security tags–and voting machines. How easy is it to hack certain brands of voting machine? Turns out Argonne’s Roger Johnston discovered it was way too easy to hack the touchscreen Diebold Accuvote-TSX. That’s a little alarming, since versions of this machine will be used to cast up to 9 million votes on Tuesday, November 6th. (You know, tomorrow.)
In an article in Popular Science magazine, Mr. Johnston explained that he used a “man-in-the-middle” hack on one of the Diebold machines, simply attaching a small microprocessor that allowed him to essentially interfere with whatever the voter intended to do. Worse still, Mr. Johnston says you can do this with pretty much any voting machine, because as far as he knows, most of them are not encrypted. One thing, however, works against any would-be voting machine hacker’s malevolent, vote-stealing intentions: