E-Voting: Maryland’s Just As Borked As Virginia

Well, it’s still a case of testing after making the purchase, but it’s better than nothing: the state of Maryland apparently decided to test their fancy new Diebold e-voting machines for vulnerabilities, and discovered that they have lots of them.

But, they’ve already bought ’em, and there’s a primary coming up… so, too bad!

Maryland lawmakers learned the results of the attacks in a report issued yesterday by the department and the consulting firm, RABA Technologies LLC. In two hearings, a consultant assured lawmakers the machines would be “worthy of voter trust” in the March 2 primary, but outlined physical weaknesses and electronic vulnerabilities that would allow a determined hacker to corrupt or destroy election results.
Removable memory cards inside the machine can be tampered with if a lock is picked or if one of thousands of keys is stolen. If hackers find the phone number of the central computers used to compile vote totals, they could easily break into the system and tamper with results or introduce worms and viruses, said consultant Michael A. Wertheimer, a former National Security Agency analyst.
“You are more secure buying a book from Amazon than you are uploading your results to a Diebold server,” said Wertheimer, recommending several changes to increase security.
Linda H. Lamone, the administrator of the Maryland State Board of Elections, assured lawmakers that the board would comply with many of the recommendations but said that some of them would be impossible to put in place before the primary.
“I don’t disagree with what they say — they’re the experts,” Lamone said after the Senate hearing. But, she added, “I think it’s a very good system.”

Oh yes! It’s a very good system, except for the whole “totally insecure” part. Other than that it’s frickin’ fantastic.

Oh well — at least, little by little, lawmakers are waking up to the danger these machines pose. I suppose that’s something. (Thanks to Oscar Merida for the pointer to this story.)