Single Key For Working, Drinking and Voting

Category: Comp

As Slashdot reported earlier today, Diebold's voting machines are much less secure than was previously thought. (Is it possible to have negative security?) Apparently, common desk and minibar keys can open the Diebold voting machines!

Now this is just plain ridiculous. The original exploit for these machines required that you either have a key or a screwdriver, with the key being preferrable. (Dismantling a voting machine is likely to get noticed, whereas simply opening a little door won't.) As it turns out, the key that was used is just a simple office furniture key, widely available on the Internet and from supply catalogs.

The access panel door on a Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine — the door that protects the memory card that stores the votes, and is the main barrier to the injection of a virus — can be opened with a standard key that is widely available on the Internet.

This is simply inexcusable. Even vending machines use a more secure locking mechanism. Of course, any locking mechanism can be defeated by the determined attacker, but these machines are not unmonitored. If you make too much noise, "the gig is up". However, by using such a common key, any attacker can access the machine's memory card — virtually undetected.

I fear for the future of this country if these kinds of problems go unsolved.