New Fears of Security Risks in Electronic Voting Systems
by MONICA DAVEY
The New York Times, publication date: 12 May 2006
"Officials from Diebold and from elections' offices in numerous states minimized the significance of the risk and emphasized that there were no signs that any touch-screen machines had been tampered with. But computer scientists said the problem might allow someone to tamper with a machine's software, some saying they preferred not to discuss the flaw at all for fear of offering a roadmap to a hacker.
Computer scientists who have studied the vulnerability say the flaw might allow someone with brief access to a voting machine and with knowledge of computer code to tamper with the machine's software, and even, potentially, to spread malicious code to other parts of the voting system.
As word of Mr. Hursti's findings spread, Diebold issued a warning to recipients of thousands of its machines, saying that it had found a "theoretical security vulnerability" that "could potentially allow unauthorized software to be loaded onto the system."
'We're prepared for those types of problems,' said Deborah Hench, the registrar of voters in San Joaquin County, Calif. 'There are always activists that are anti-electronic voting, and they're constantly trying to put pressure on us to change our system.'
Aviel Rubin, a professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins University, did the first in-depth analysis of the security flaws in the source code for Diebold touch-screen machines in 2003. After studying the latest problem, he said: 'I almost had a heart attack. The implications of this are pretty astounding.'"