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Hotel Minibar Key Opens Diebold Voting Machines 341

Posted by kdawson
from the expensive-miniatures-and-macademia-nuts dept.
Billosaur writes, "As if Diebold doesn't have enough to worry about! On the Freedom To Tinker blog, Ed Felten, one of the co-authors of the recent report 'Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting Machine', reveals an even more bizarre finding related to the initial report. It turns out that you can gain access to an AccuVote-TS machine using a hotel minibar key. In fact, the key in question is a utilitarian type used to open office furniture, electronic equipment, jukeboxes, and the like. They might as well hand them out like candy."
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Hotel Minibar Key Opens Diebold Voting Machines

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  • by KingSkippus (799657) * on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:48PM (#16131684) Homepage Journal

    I know I'm preaching to the Slashdot choir, and it's been said a thousand times before, but as long as we have closed voting processes, we're going to have people screwing up by doing things like having voting machines accessible with hotel minibar keys. We hate Microsoft for their closed-source software, yet we continue to accept this kind of idiocy.

    Quick question: If we have viable alteratives, such as those presented by the Open Voting Consortium [openvotingconsortium.org], why do we continue to bother with these stupid Diebold machines? I know, dumb answer, because Diebold pays the people who decide lots and lots of money.

    I would say write to your Congresscritters [vote-smart.org] and let them know that you want these screwed up pieces of junk out of our polling locations, but like I said, I know I'm preaching to the Slashdot choir, and you won't do it. >:-( But realistically, just know that until you do, we can look forward to many, many more articles about this kind of thing. Ooh, at least until we see the one that says, "Electronic voting machines hacked! Election results tainted!." Or even better, when we see nothing at all and Richard M. Stallman is mysteriously elected President in a write-in landslide.

    sigh Oh well, it was worth a shot. Just give me my damn +5 and go back to reading about lasers on Intel's chips now.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by daveschroeder (516195) *
      Open source systems are just as useless as the Diebold equipment without a permanent voter-verified paper trail.

      It's no surprise that enterprise and commercial vendors of all stripes will maintain closed and proprietary software.

      What we need to require is a permanent, voter-verified, auditable paper trail, as I have discussed here [slashdot.org].

      That's the easiest and simplest course of action, and is a goal we should all be working toward, rather than trying to unseat established enterprise equipment vendors.

      ---
      Temporary
    • by Kesch (943326) on Monday September 18, 2006 @02:00PM (#16131784)
      Or even better, when we see nothing at all and Richard M. Stallman is mysteriously elected President in a write-in landslide.


      The more I think about this, the more this seems to be a nice solution. Get a bunch of geeks armed with minibar keys and flash cards. Once Mario and Yoshi are the leading candidates in 14 different states, the public will be sure to take voting security seriously.

      Of course you will have to deal with a huge election fiasco along with finding enough people willing to commit election fraud.
      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday September 18, 2006 @02:16PM (#16131936) Journal
        The more I think about this, the more this seems to be a nice solution. Get a bunch of geeks armed with minibar keys and flash cards. Once Mario and Yoshi are the leading candidates in 14 different states, the public will be sure to take voting security seriously.
        Honestly, I don't think that is the solution.

        A more relevant question is: What are the penalties (criminal or civil) for using a key to open a voting machine during polling and doing nothing else.

        You don't have to actively fsck things up to get the machine pulled. IMHO, merely opening the machine up would make for a good act of civil disobediance.

        If the punishment is not something trivial, videotape yourself in the act and release it anonymously onto the internet the same day.

        Even if the election officials do absolutely nothing, it'll show up on the evening and nightly news. That will be good or bad, depending on your perspective, but will definitely be noticed.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by FLEB (312391)
          You don't have to actively fsck things up to get the machine pulled. IMHO, merely opening the machine up would make for a good act of civil disobediance.

          Or, if that's even too heavy for your tastes, just get everyone you know to wear an office furniture key jewelry (on a necklace or lanyard, perhaps) on voting day. T'would make 'em nervous, no doubt.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Wiseleo (15092)
        The GOP already does that on a regular basis... Competition is good for the business ;-)
      • Assuming there were a group of people conspiring to steal the next election in a most subtle way, the best way to publicly destroy their intended means is to coopt said means for the purpose of "electing" anybody who is currently on the ballot but is obviously not in the running. The errors would be blatantly obvious, and they would have no choice but to agree with the majority that the voting machines must go. (That, or validate RMS as the next POTUS, grumble, grumble...) They'd just have to fall back on
    • by RumGunner (457733) <rumgunner.hotmail@com> on Monday September 18, 2006 @02:12PM (#16131894) Homepage
      You raise a number of valid points, and while I...

      Wait a minute... Did you say lasers !?!
    • I've got a huge pile (>300) of magnetic ribbons that say "Demand Open Source Voting" that I will GIVE away to someone that can prove they will use it as a fundraising premium to fight for open sourced voting initiatives (Or equivalent) I've offered it to Blackbox Voting and a couple of other groups to no avail. I just want them to be gone and to have them affect the world in a positive way

      Ribbons [pomosideshow.com]Just email opensource at pomosideshow dot com.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Zaphod2016 (971897)
      I propose an addition to the /. mod system: +5, it had to be said

      Keep fighting the good fight, brother.
    • Heres why : (Score:3, Insightful)

      by unity100 (970058)
      Quick question: If we have viable alteratives, such as those presented by the Open Voting Consortium [openvotingconsortium.org], why do we continue to bother with these stupid Diebold machines? I know, dumb answer, because Diebold pays the people who decide lots and lots of money.

      Things like Diebold are needed tools for fixing elections.

      Republicans may not like it, but their candidates for the last 2 elections had the elections fixed.

      Nomatter what you do, unless entire entourage of republican party
    • by thelost (808451)
      It's lasers on frikkin' sharks, or have a missed something?

      If people were to turn up at their voting station and sabotage or destroy the machines, en mass I imagine they would end up in jail for a long stretch? However if it was in my own country I would be tempted to do just that. If you appeal to your congressmen and women and they do nothing, and another joke of an election took place would people be prepared to stand up against it?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Moofie (22272)
      "why do we continue to bother with these stupid Diebold machines? "

      Indeed. It's almost like the people who run elections have a vested interest in preventing anybody other than the Republicans or Democrats from controlling elections.

      Shocking, that.
    • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Monday September 18, 2006 @03:59PM (#16133039) Homepage Journal
      >I know, dumb answer, because Diebold pays the people who decide lots and lots of money.

      That's a documented fact, not random cynicism:

      Voting machine vendors offer cruises, funding and jobs to election officials [nytimes.com].
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Flwyd (607088)
      Your Congresscritters actually don't have a lot of say in the matter. Elections are implemented in large part by county government officials and they have a fair amount of leeway about things like voting technology. Within a state you can expect to see many different voting devices used.

      I program software for county governments (though it's not election-related). Despite what Slashdot readers would like, solid design and strong security is far from the main concern of the people with whom the purchasing
  • by east coast (590680) on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:48PM (#16131686)
    I'd like to have access to the minibar.
    • by db32 (862117)
      Just wait until there is enough problems they start throwing them out and buy one from some surplus dump or something. Think about it...free drinks at every place with a minibar, awesome if your work has you traveling frequently. (Yes, the key is free, the drinks cost you, but if they didn't give you the key you just blame it on the last guy there or the cleaning folks, hell they are probably illegals anyways) :)
  • What's needed now (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:48PM (#16131688)
    Electronic systems - including electronic voting machines [princeton.edu] - will always be able to be tampered with, no matter who makes them, no matter what their CEOs stupidly say, no matter what ongoing audit mechanisms are implemented, whether they're open or proprietary, and no matter what legislation or other initiatives mandate or recommend them.

    Finding out that computer systems can be tampered with and that some large-scale enterprise-class systems can have shoddy security, physical and otherwise, should come as no surprise to us, particularly in this community. On this particular issue, a generic security key is used because of key management issues and the fact that casual access is what's being prevented. Neither of which excuses this or any of the numerous other glaring shortcomings and flaws in this equipment. No one - citizen, politician, or party - benefits from universally shoddy security on electronic voting systems. No one.

    Remember, too, that voting legislation, in large part in response to issues in the 2000 election, designed to ensure fair, uniform, and universal access to voting for all citizens by mandating electronic voting equipment, such as HAVA (2002) [fec.gov], were Democratic and bipartisan efforts.

    The real issue is that Congress screwed up: they inherently, and erroneously, believed that since we trust so many critically important things to machines, certainly reliable electronic voting is possible, and indeed, we use automation, computers, and machines in almost every aspect of our lives to increase efficiency and reliability - why should voting be any different?

    Except for one problem: when you're trying to administer a one-vote-per-person system that also maintains anonymity, and also disallows any external entity from discovering who voted for which candidates, when there is no permanent, voter-verified paper trail, the system as a whole cannot be trusted, since any level of security will always be able to be overridden. This has nothing to do with open source versus proprietary, or how shoddy physical security on e-voting systems is. A permanent, voter-verified paper trail solves all of these problems.

    The only problem is that no legislation mandating electronic voting systems includes or speaks to any provisions requiring permanent paper receipt printing capability. All of the major e-voting vendors - Diebold, ES&S, and Sequoia - have this capability, but it's an add-on that requires retrofitting existing equipment, or in some cases, purchasing new equipment. And that takes money many counties and municipalities - particularly in the most hotly contested areas - don't have. (Hint: it's not just poor areas that have long lines [slashdot.org])

    Our focus now should be on passing legislation that requires permanent voter-verified paper trail capability on all newly deployed e-voting systems, and allocates funds and creates a timeline for deployment on existing systems. Please, continue to raise this issue with both your county election officials and your elected representatives.

    This issue is too important and too critical to the integrity of our election process to let rest.

    ---
    Temporary disclaimer, since this seems to have been an issue for people reading my posts lately: I am not a Republican, did not vote for Bush in the last election, and have always voted for more non-Republican (usually Democratic) candidates since I have been voting.
    • by Billosaur (927319) *

      Finding out that computer systems can be tampered with and that some large-scale enterprise-class systems can have shoddy security, physical and otherwise, should come as no surprise to us, particularly in this community. On this particular issue, a generic security key is used because of key management issues and the fact that casual access is what's being prevented. Neither of which excuses this or any of the numerous other glaring shortcomings and flaws in this equipment. No one - citizen, politician, o

    • NOT A RECEIPT! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by argent (18001) <<moc.agnorat.6002.todhsals> <ta> <retep>> on Monday September 18, 2006 @02:06PM (#16131838) Homepage Journal
      The only problem is that no legislation mandating electronic voting systems includes or speaks to any provisions requiring permanent paper receipt printing capability.

      Do not use the word "receipt" in this context. A receipt is something that you take with you, as a personal record of a transaction. A receipt is worse than useless here... you don't WANT people to be able to show the party bosses that they voted the "right way".

      What is needed is a "permanent paper ballot capability", where the ballots are retained at the voting place and serve as the primary official paper (ahem) trail.
      • Yes, when I say "receipt", I don't mean it as something someone takes with them, though "receipt printers" are discussed generically in this context. I am in no way insinuating or implying people should get a piece of paper to take along with them. All I'm talking about is a piece of paper that can be verified by the voter, at that time, and then gets stored in accordance with the same mechanisms we've used for voting for decades.
    • "Finding out that computer systems can be tampered with and that some large-scale enterprise-class systems can have shoddy security, physical and otherwise, should come as no surprise to us, particularly in this community. On this particular issue, a generic security key is used because of key management issues and the fact that casual access is what's being prevented. Neither of which excuses this or any of the numerous other glaring shortcomings and flaws in this equipment. No one - citizen, politician, o
    • by khallow (566160)

      Except for one problem: when you're trying to administer a one-vote-per-person system that also maintains anonymity, and also disallows any external entity from discovering who voted for which candidates, when there is no permanent, voter-verified paper trail, the system as a whole cannot be trusted, since any level of security will always be able to be overridden. This has nothing to do with open source versus proprietary, or how shoddy physical security on e-voting systems is. A permanent, voter-verified


    • I agree with most of your points, but HAVA was written just like all other bills get written these days, by the majority party in cooperation with the big business interests they represent. It was a snow job.

      Oh yeah, and the primary lead legislator of HAVA is now on his way to jail.

    • by pz (113803)
      Electronic voting machines smell like a scam to me.

      Mechanical voting machines work just fine and are comparatively simple, easy to verify, and last a long, long time. The major complaint against them is that they require maintenance, and that the parts are no longer available. For the millions of dollars of development and equipment costs to program and manufacture electronic voting machines that will surely last only a few years before being declared obsolete, a new set of dies could be designed and stru
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Lord Kano (13027)
      Except for one problem: when you're trying to administer a one-vote-per-person system that also maintains anonymity, and also disallows any external entity from discovering who voted for which candidates, when there is no permanent, voter-verified paper trail, the system as a whole cannot be trusted, since any level of security will always be able to be overridden.

      In Applied Cryptography, Schneier describes a system that in theory would allow up to maintain a one vote per person system and only the voter hi
  • by garcia (6573) on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:50PM (#16131700) Homepage
    They might as well hand them out like candy.

    And that's exactly what the politicians are looking for.
  • Moo (Score:4, Funny)

    by Chacham (981) on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:50PM (#16131702) Homepage Journal
    the key in question is a utilitarian type

    That's the problem right there. You should never religion and state, it always makes one cross.
  • super key? (Score:5, Funny)

    by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info AT devinmoore DOT com> on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:51PM (#16131713) Homepage Journal
    Let me see, this key opens voting machines, mini-bars, jukeboxes, etc? Sounds pretty shiny, where do I get one! I need to add it to my lil' bastard music-copying, alcohol-drinking, electrion-throwing kit.

  • After all, these machines were never seriously designed with security in mind...they were designed to be easily compromised.

    I think I'll take a hotel minibar key down to my local ATM to see if I can score some free money. If Diebold is honestly this incompetent, it'll be a snap. If, however, the voting machines are specifically designed to be compromised, I'll probably have a harder time of it.

    Any bets on the outcome of my little experiment? Didn't think so.
    • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Monday September 18, 2006 @02:00PM (#16131783)
      After all, these machines were never seriously designed with security in mind...they were designed to be easily compromised.

      That's bullshit, and you know it.

      When these systems are vulnerable, it's just as easy for ANYONE to take advantage of that fact. Not one party or one political stripe.

      As for ATM security:

      Citibank ATM fiasco "worst ever" [boingboing.net]
      ATM reprogrammed to give out 4 times more money [hamptonroads.com]
      Diebold ATMs hit by Nachi worm [interesting-people.org]
      • by Rufus211 (221883)
        As for ATM security:

        Well, the first link has absolutely nothing to do with ATMs. The second two are along the lines of what has previously been reported. However this latest breach would be as if someone could walk up, use a $5 key to open the ATM, and walk out with all the money in the system. ATMs, even diebold's, are at least built with descent physical security, unlike these voting machines.
      • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Monday September 18, 2006 @02:31PM (#16132081) Journal
        That's bullshit, and you know it.

        Really, do you think so? On the surface, that's a perfectly rational response, I mean, everyone has the same access to these machines, right? What's the point of deliberately making a system everyone can cheat at?

        Perhaps not everyone does have the same access. Peerhaps certain voting machine companies favor one party or the other, and provide detailed instructions to their favored candidates. Perhaps something is going on further behind the scenes, giving certain favored groups privileged access to the counting machines themselves, making cheating at the machine level a moot point.

        It just seems odd that a company with the skills to make ATM machines nearly impenetrable can't make a voting machine as secure. The track record of ATMs seems to rule out incompetance. Despite your scanty anecdotal evidence to the contrary, ATMs are on the whole very secure. Banks are notoriously picky about that sort of thing, and any company that could not make a secure ATM would find themselves out of the ATM market very quickly, and probably facing massive lawsuits.

        What, then, is your explanation of why these machines are so insecure?
        • Hi spun. :-)

          Your mistake is using the logic, "These machines have security issues; therefore, they must be designed that way." That's fallacious, not to mention not provable, as is the subsequent assertion that since they MUST be designing them as insecure, one side must be benefiting since there's no reason to do it unless one side benefits more. No doubt many people believe that along with you: that these systems are intentionally designed as such so that Republicans benefit - of course, that's not provab
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Chris Burke (6130)
            Your mistake is using the logic, "These machines have security issues; therefore, they must be designed that way." That's fallacious, not to mention not provable, as is the subsequent assertion that since they MUST be designing them as insecure, one side must be benefiting since there's no reason to do it unless one side benefits more.

            That isn't the logic. The logic is: These machines have a hundred times more security issues than very similar devices made by the same company, security issues that the com
      • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Monday September 18, 2006 @02:41PM (#16132180) Homepage
        When these systems are vulnerable, it's just as easy for ANYONE to take advantage of that fact. Not one party or one political stripe.

        The phrase you are looking for is "Plausible Deniability". If you design a machine that can only be comprimised by a single party then you're clearly a crook. If it can be hacked by a pre-school class with plastic hammers then you can claim to be merely hopelessly incompetant.

      • by 955301 (209856)
        Sort of. If you are in charge of the US government, you are in charge of *a* government. And a government has inefficiencies in every section. If you deal with these in the areas that are important to you and leave them in the areas which are not, this is equivalent to putting the inefficiencies in selected places. Are you a programmer? It's comparable to a mask.

        For example, let's say you have an agency that collects taxes. The tax agency has inefficiencies in it. Let's say the agency has problems with cash
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)


        Citibank ATM fiasco "worst ever" [boingboing.net]
        ATM reprogrammed to give out 4 times more money [hamptonroads.com]
        Diebold ATMs hit by Nachi worm [interesting-people.org]


        the first two aren't diebold machines, as far as i can tell. and the third has nothing to do with picking a lock.

        unless you can show me that a diebold ATM can be easily picked as well, i have to go by the assumption that diebold's voting machines are deliberately lacking in physical security, if they indeed build ATMs which can't be easily
      • by Deadplant (212273)
        I don't understand, you call bullshit then proceed to agree with him completely!?!?

        I can only assume you are calling bullshit on something you think he meant to say or imply...

        The Diebold machines are clearly NOT built to reliably record and tally votes.
        Speculation about the intentions of the designers is interesting but ultimately only a sideshow.
        The point is that the machines, as they exist today, compromise the election results. There are two very simple conclusions that follow from this. One, the mach
  • by TrippTDF (513419) <hilandNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:52PM (#16131720)
    I just spit chipotle on my desk when I read the headline. Man, that's comedy.

    Unfortunatly...
  • Wonderful (Score:3, Interesting)

    by parasonic (699907) on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:52PM (#16131722)
    Call a locksmith with an IQ greater than that of a grape, and he can come up with a solution. I have NO faith in Diebold. It's just another one of those large contractors that always get the bid because they were around first. Newer companies (read, non-stagnant) could create a working product for a tenth of the cost.

    And why does Diebold design these machines in such a way that they *CAN* be hacked? I think that involving an Operating System and software in the design of such a machine is a critical error. As a computer engineer, I realize that overcomplicating things can lead to errors. DSP's can make hardware extremely cheap, but there are places where analog circuits are cheaper and more realiable! Why hasn't Diebold designed a hardwired electronic circuit or a mechanical system with failsafes such that the machine can't be hacked, and the wrong candidate will not be selected if the machine fails? There are so many places where their current design can and will go wrong. I believe that it's time for these loonies (or preferrably someone else who has more sense) to come up with a more rudimentary and failsafe design!
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:54PM (#16131737) Homepage Journal
    for example, common car keys can easily open most McDonald's registers. I guess if you just go sticking enough keys into something, one is bound to work...
    • Most of those smaller lock cylinders use the same key patterns. Those desk drawer keys and cabinet keys use a very common key blank (usually a Y11 based on a Yale brand cylinder) and from that point there are only a few combinations of cut. Cash drawer manufacturers and receipt printer companies use the same common key, so that explains why you can open McDonald's cash registers..you can likely open mine as well. For cash drawers the key is really just functioning as a latch...same wtih desk drawers and cabinets. A determined thief will get in anyway so it's just to keep the casual thief from pulling the drawer open without delay.

      For a voting machine one would hope that they would have used more secure cylinders like the round 7-pin cylinders or maybe Medeco style. The voting machine locks should be at least as secure as unattended machines that hold money, like soda machines, slot machines, even pay phones. Those machines have secure locks with tough-to-duplicate keys. I guess protecting Pepsi is more important than our protecting electoral process.

      John
      • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
        I used to have a key I called my 'magic key'. It was a floppy disk holder key, and I found out it was just the right shape to open just about *any* floppy disk holder key. Then I found out it could open luggage, certain types of safe, all sorts of stuff. They didn't have voting machines then alas...

        Basically if anyone lost a key and the lock looked about the right size, I'd whip out my magic key and be in it in seconds.

        If as you say there are only a few combinations for that key type it explains why I ha
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DanTheLewis (742271)
        If you watch the Princeton video, you'll see them unscrewing the case without disturbing the lock. So a nice lock would be no more than a gold ring in a pig's snout.

        Security is only as good as the weakest defense.
    • by DarthBart (640519)
      I have a key that fits the cabinet locks on several brands of older Motorola radios (It's labelled 2135 for those interested). It also happens to fit the "Firefighter Switch" on 80% of the elevator systems in the US. Now if I get impatient waiting on an elevator to pick me up from the lobby, I can insert my key, turn it to "Recall" and every elevator in the system will come to the lobby.
  • Wasn't the point of electronic voting to save time tallying the votes? Without a paper trail, of course, there can be no recount, so that certainly speeds things up. But if there WERE a paper trail, everyone would be clamoring for a manual recount anyway.

    I suppose, like upgrading to Microsoft Office 2003, and thus requiring better computing hardware, we did it for the economy.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by daveschroeder (516195) *
      Yep, that's the problem.

      The "point" was to actually fix some of the problem areas from the 2000 election, in addition to things like efficiency and automation. There were Democratic and bipartisan initiatives, like the Help America Vote Act (2002), that mandated electronic voting systems, but neglected to include a paper trail [slashdot.org].

      The problem, though, that you bring up is an interesting one: even if all of the systems were totally open source and all had permanent voter-verified paper trails, [insert losers her
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nizo (81281) *
        Here is what I would do to fix the problem:

        Voter votes and gets a printout of his votes from machine A. He verifies that the votes are correct (if not, the printout gets shredded) and puts the printout into machine B (which signals to machine A that it got the printout). Note that machine A and machine B could be made by seperate vendors, and B also contains a paper trail in case a recount is needed.

        If machine A and B don't agree, you recount the paper ballots. Gee, sounds quite a bit harder to subvert eh?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by grnbrg (140964)
      Wasn't the point of electronic voting to save time tallying the votes? Without a paper trail, of course, there can be no recount, so that certainly speeds things up. But if there WERE a paper trail, everyone would be clamoring for a manual recount anyway.

      There is a simple solution to this.

      Assuming a paper trail, everything goes as normal, the polls close, and the machine spits out results -- Candidate X - nnnn votes. Candidate Y - mmmm votes, etc. These are passed up the line, however they are suppos

    • by Bassman59 (519820)
      Wasn't the point of electronic voting to save time tallying the votes?

      Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that we must know the results of an election before we go to sleep on election night.

      Our democracy can handle waiting two weeks for accurate, verified election results.

    • by plague3106 (71849)
      Why all the fuss about the time it takes to count ballots? Its not like we are in a hurry; they have months before they need to finish counting...
  • by jimstapleton (999106) on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:57PM (#16131760) Journal
    We will be adding a "change everyone elses votes to" toggle for each voting option!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is why there needs to be greater accountabiility and control over chain-of-custody procedures [cioinsight.com] when it comes to e-voting. There is no way the U.S. is going to revert back to paper at this point, and there is also no way to make any of these machines fully tamper-proof. To keep integrity in the voting process, we have to start holding peoples' feet to the fire. And we need poll volunteers who know a thing or two about how to operate these machines correctly.
  • Are there drinks inside? I can't think of any other reason to open it with a mini-bar key.
  • Oh noes... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Skynet (37427)
    Better keep Ted Kennedy away from those machines, or there will be vote tampering for sure!
  • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Monday September 18, 2006 @02:04PM (#16131829) Journal
    If you watch the video of the university guys explaining the hack, you'll see a good closeup of the lock. The lock looks like a real cheapy one; something you'd find on one of those floppy disk / CD storage boxes, or the kind they put on suitcases. I betya the keys for those boxes/suitcase will open this lock as well, with a little jiggling. Hell, these locks can be opened with 2 paper clips.
  • That's not a bug, it's a feature. It's also directly tied to the fact that you'd have to be drinking to approve the use of these in your district.

    "Look, I'm not so sure about these..."

    "Hey, no problem. Take this unit back to your hotel with you, play around with it. And hey - drinks are on us."
  • by wwiiol_toofless (991717) on Monday September 18, 2006 @02:11PM (#16131885)
    With the Diebold UberFascer 6000, you can Fix elections AND enjoy a hard-earned single malt scotch!
  • by bill_kress (99356) on Monday September 18, 2006 @02:16PM (#16131938)
    Your current administration will have no problem fixing this, it's simply a case of outlawing office equipment/minibar keys.

    You shouldn't be locking stuff in your desk anyway, what are you a terrorist?

    As for minibar keys--it is the view of our administration that you shouldn't be drinking on business in the first place, it's not good for America! Do you really want to help the terrorists win???

    We will ensure all minibars are re-keyed with special locks, the keys to which will be restricted to government employees only (Our administration has proven itself to be Above all Laws but God's, and God never said not to drink, so we therefore deserves access)

    When minibar keys are outlawed, only outlaws will have minibar keys--then we know who to detain, harass or shoot (our call).
    • The previous administration would have outlawed minibar keys under the concept that the key is a tool to be used to circumnavigate security measures in a digital device.
  • by Aqua_boy17 (962670) on Monday September 18, 2006 @02:21PM (#16131975)
    As if Diebold doesn't have enough to worry about!

    As if the American People didn't have enough to worry about. There, fixed that for ya.

    How long are we going to tolerate this?
  • by nizo (81281) *
    So basically their voting boxes are much more open than everyone originally thought? The best part of all is it sounds like basically anyone can look at/download their code and heck even patch it on local machines. Long live the open voting machine!
  • by Iphtashu Fitz (263795) on Monday September 18, 2006 @02:28PM (#16132043)
    Maybe I'm being paranoid here but this seems like the sort of thing that could easily be exploited in a really nasty way. A group of well funded [fill in your favorite conspiracy theory related group of individuals here]* could theoretically get people into key places around the country where these machines are in use then infect them with a virus that siphons the vast majority of votes to a candidate that has no choice at all of winning (Ralph Nader or something like that). Imagine the exit polls on CNN, etc. showing a close race between the Democratic & Republican candidates and then the Green Party actually winning by a landslide. Something like this would cause such an increase of mistrust of the government that election results for an entire generation would be questioned. It wouldn't be terrorism in the classical sense, but it would generate a huge groundwell of mistrust that could damage the federal government for a long time to come.

    * <tinfoil_hat=on>Of course the unnamed group could even be a major political party</tinfoil_hat>
  • When the virus installed by the Republican Party to steal votes for their candidate interferes with the virus installed by the Democratic party to steal votes for their party and the viruses installed by all the other parties to steal votes for their respective candidates? The election ends up being determined by the party that has the best virus writers on their staff? Or does W simply void the results and stay in office after all the Diebold machines start belching smoke?
  • this means you can use Diebold keys to open hotel minibars.

    If they're using one of those rotary keys that you see on vending machines and some bike locks, it's actually quite easy to pick them, with the right tool. More importantly, it's quite unobtrusive... it looks just like you're using a proper key.
  • here [latke.net]

    -a
  • by Anonymous Coward
    How about the following voter verifiable scheme:

    The machines print you an official receipt indicating your vote and tag it with a random number. At the end of the election, all the data (a large random number and vote table) could be posted (website and otherwise) so anyone who wanted could verify the tally and their vote.

    To avoid the injection of a bunch of bogus votes, it would also be necessary to allow anyone who wanted to (specifically a representative from each party) to come out on voting night and
    • by Bassman59 (519820)
      The machines print you an official receipt indicating your vote and tag it with a random number.

      So, what makes you think that the vote indicated on the receipt is the same as the vote that's actually counted?

    • by MightyYar (622222)
      The system would then make the bogus vote verifiable, so the coercer won't be able to tell it is bogus, by searching its database for an already cast vote that matches and using the associated random number on the receipt. The individual would then be able to claims to the person doing the coercing that the fake vote is their actual vote and their actual vote is the fake vote.

      The coercer would presumbably ask for both reciepts, which had damn well match, or else.

  • I wonder if my Diebold Voting Machine key will open my hotel minibar! Just imagine... the most powerful key in the world...
  • These Voting machines actually do what they say they do. They vote for us. Thanks to the advances in voting machine technology, humans will be relieved the burden of actually voting altogether! Voting machines are clearly a terrific labor saving device.

    I, for one, welcome our new......oh. Too late.
  • My response to one of the other many Diebold security screwups reported on slashdot seems even more apporpriate.
    Cut and pasted for your viewing pleasure:

    Bush must have shares in Diebold or something.

    Diebold have been the butt-end of so many serious security failures its not funny any more. Its obvious they don't have a clue about security and aren't likely to get a clue anytime soon judging from their ongoing record.

    Why are we still using this company's products? How many more times are the government going
  • by instantkarma1 (234104) on Monday September 18, 2006 @02:51PM (#16132288)
    Pretty please...with sugar on top.

    Either make voting machines as secure as slot machines, or let mini bar keys open up slot machines.

    Either or. I'm not picky.

  • I for one welcome our new Minbari [wikipedia.org] overlords.
  • That their minibars are as unsafe as Diebold voting machine.
  • You guys are totally missing the point...

    How fucking awesome is it that my hacked Diebold voting machine key can now open the hotel minibar!
  • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Monday September 18, 2006 @04:02PM (#16133057)
    I'm not saying your last election was a fraud.

    I'm also not saying that you guys suck at democracy.

    I am saying that you suck at capitalism.

    Let's assume that you want to get at the card or whatever is behind the panel.

    Why isn't this panel made out of glass that you have to shatter with a little hammer or teflon paper that you have to cut? That way, there's obvious proof of access. The vendor can repair the windows for the next election - it's a revenue stream for them. If the replacement costs $500 or so to install (due to all the fancy features like holograms, RFID, and seals, etc.) then fakes would be prohibitively difficult to get. It would be better physical security than a "Bic" lock.

    I think Diebold was lazy, not conspiring. The rest of you were lazy by allowing these lazily built machines to run your election.

  • by Max Threshold (540114) on Monday September 18, 2006 @04:27PM (#16133282)
    Maybe Diebold isn't part of a vast conspiracy. Maybe they're just another sham company selling junk on the strength of their press releases.

    Hmmmm... do the same hotel minibar keys work on Diebold ATMs?

  • Key number? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dun Malg (230075) on Monday September 18, 2006 @06:07PM (#16134072) Homepage
    Anyone know the key code? I'd lay money that it was a National "C415A". That is by far the number-one most common "off the shelf" key code when it comes to cheap wafer locks. If you come across a C415A key, hold on to it. You'll find it fits a LOT of locks. Everything from paper towel dispensers and alarm panels, to (well) voting machines, apparently.

    Really though, this is nothing new. People always pull stupid shit like this with physical security. The local Union Bank branch I do work for (as a locksmith) has double locks on every teller drawer. One lock takes a key only the teller has and is different for each drawer, the other takes a key the manager has and fits all the drawers. Well, the "manager" key is another absurdly common key, the National "915". If they're expecting the manager lock to keep anyone out, they're sorely mistaken. I've told them, but they don't seem to care...
  • Die Harder (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday September 18, 2006 @07:36PM (#16134608) Homepage Journal
    The many broken Diebold problems in so many ways make it clear that Diebold's execs have nothing but contempt for voting. Why do they hate America [google.com]?

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