Barry SCHWARTZ (Barijo ŜVARC) (chemoelectric) wrote,

BradBlog: A Diebold insider speaks

In exclusive stunning admissions to The BRAD BLOG some 11 months after
the 2004 Presidential Election, a "Diebold Insider" is now finally
speaking out for the first time about the alarming security flaws
within Diebold, Inc's electronic voting systems, software and
machinery. The source is acknowledging that the company's "upper
management"—as well as "top government officials"—were keenly
aware of the "undocumented backdoor" in Diebold's main "GEM Central
Tabulator" software well prior to the 2004 election. A branch of the
Federal Government even posted a security warning on the Internet.

Pointing to a little-noticed "Cyber Security Alert" issued by the
United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), a division
of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the source inside
Diebold—who "for the time being" is requesting anonymity due to
a continuing sensitive relationship with the company—is charging
that Diebold's technicians, including at least one of its lead
programmers, knew about the security flaw and that the company
instructed them to keep quiet about it.…

In phone interviews, DIEB-THROAT confirmed that the matters were well
known within the company, but that a "culture of fear" had been
developed to assure that employees, including technicians, vendors and
programmers kept those issues to themselves.…

The voting company insider, who has also served as a spokesperson for
the company in various capacities over recent years, admits that the
"real danger" of this security vulnerability could have easily been
exploited by a malicious user or an insider through remote access.…

The ability to connect to the system remotely by phone lines and the
apparent lack of interest by Diebold to correct the serious security
issue in a timely manner—or at all—would seem to be at
odds with at least one of their Press Releases touting their voting
hardware and software.

In an October 31, 2003 Press Release as part of a publicity blitz to
"sell" the new voting machines to the voters in the state of Maryland,
Diebold Election Systems President Thomas W. Swidarski is quoted as
follows in a section titled "Security Is Key":

Diebold has fine-tuned its computerized system so that it
meets stringent security requirements. “We have independent
verification that the Diebold voting system provides an unprecedented
level of election security. This is crucial to maintaining the
integrity of the entire voting process,” Swidarski

In regards to possible remote access to the GEMS Central Tabulator by
modem via phone lines, a way that hackers could easily and simply
change the vote total information in the Access database, Diebold's
official spokesman seemed to be … in denial even today.

When we asked [the spokesman] Bear whether or not the Central
Tabulator is still accessible via modem in their machines, he first
denied that it's even possible, telling us "the Central Tabulator
isn't accessable via modem."

When we pressed about whether or not there is still modem capabilities
in the machines and software they sell, Bear admitted, "There is a
modem capability, but it's up to a jurisdiction whether they wish to
use it or not…I don't know of any jurisdiction that does that."

"Oh, boy. Such lies," DIEB-THROAT said in response. "There are several
jurisdications that use [the modem capabilities] in the
machines…Probably one of the most robust users of modems is
Prince Georges County in Maryland. They've used it in every
election. I believe they started in 2000. And Baltimore County used
them in the November election in 2004. Fulton County and Dekalb County
in Georgia may have used them in 2004 as well."

While we were unable to hear back in response to messages left with
Election Officials at several of those offices prior to the
publication of this article, a review of "Lessons Learned" after the
November 2004 Election conducted by the Maryland state Board of
Elections obtained by The BRAD BLOG, confirms that modems were used to
access the GEMS Central Tabulator to send in information from
precincts on Election Night.…

When we asked our source if they had any evidence to show that the
security flaw described by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security was
actually exploited in the 2004 election, DIEB-THROAT told us only: "I
wouldn't say I have evidence that it was exploited….only that
it was known. To the feds, to state officials and to Diebold. They all
knew. In spite of the gap they moved forward as normal…As if it
didn't exist."

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