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Dutch voting machines hacked to play chess

Paul Miller, @futurepaul
October 6, 2006
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With as much fuss as we raise over the myriad of Diebold security and stability failures, it looks like we've got it pretty good in the States when compared to the e-voting methods of the Dutch. Their ES3B voting system is based on circa-1980's computing hardware, which seems to be rather lacking in the areas of physical and software security. A few hackers got a hold of a unit and essentially had their way with the machine. Their first order of business was installing a chess program, since Jan Groenendaal of the Nedap/Groenendaal company -- which manufactures the machines -- had responded to the hackers' claims of it being possible with a smarmy "I'd like to see that demonstrated." After they got bored playing chess against a weak sauce 68000 processor with 16KB of RAM, they installed their own "PowerFraud" app to demonstrate methods for generating phony election results, and then went on to do some RF reading that helped them discover ways to wirelessly detect which votes were being registered on the machines by spotting "spurious emissions" from the computer display whenever it gets refreshed. The hackers responsible were kind enough to recommend fixes for most of their hacks, but we would think a bit of a technology refresh could help these Nedap/Groenendaal guys immensely. Or maybe Diebold can give them a ring once they're done botching our elections and they can all work together to further their respective nefarious and democracy-ending aims.

[Via Hack-A-Day]



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