Security Testing of Voting Systems {3}

by Edwin T
The peer reviewed article i choose for this week was about security testing voting systems. The authors discussed a few vulnerabilities for the DRE or direct-recording electronic voting machine and how they can affect election day. The authors found buffer overflows in the DRE system and by exploiting them it was very easy to completely take it over. Also, the DRE systems do not have the necessary means to detect any malicious software or a change in firmware. If malicious firmware is installed in the DRE system, it can activate on election day and modify a subset of ballots so they seem as if they were for the preffered candidate. There’s the “careful voter” scenario, where the voter will submit his ballot and a review screen will appear with the name of the preferred candidate and not the one the voter voted for. If the voter catches the mistake, the firmware will allow the voter to edit the submition. At this point, the firmware will consider itself found and will not change the ballots for a period of time or voters before it starts again. Another of the many scenarios in the article was the “After the Fact Vote”. For this scenario the voter places his vote normally, then the firmware will print a voided ballot and will re-print the ballot with a vote for the preferred candidate. read more...

Online Registration for Voting in California {2}

by Joe C

Eleven states have finally approved to allow online voter registration. Digital technology comes really slowly to many offline institutions such as the voting registration process. Within the past few weeks, our governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to legalize the authorization of voter registration online. It is also known that California had a previous voter registration database, however users could not complete the registration process fully online. It required residents to first fill out forms online, but then later print out the forms and send it to a physical office to approve. The author bashes the state saying how California is one of the most high-tech states yet it was unable to develop a simple online registration process until now. In 2010 more than 39% of California residents (9 million people) did not register to vote. With this new law, Californians can just register online and the county election office will validate the voter by comparing signatures with DMV records. Hopefully with this new system in place, more people will choose to vote. read more...