Diebold Source Code – CA Top-To-Bottom Review

In August, the Secretary of the State of California decertified electronic voting equipment from Diebold, ES&S, and Sequoia. Her action was based on the Top-To-Bottom Review, which consisted of four reports on each vendor. Two of those reports, Documentation and Source Code were not released at the time. On October 5th, I highlited the Documentation Review. Today, I highlight the Source Code Review.

A Source Code Review sounds like and is a very techinical topic. However, this report is very educational and easy to read. Read the Executive Summary, read the Introduction, and more. I don’t expect everyone to read it completely, but please start and see  if you agree that it is accessible and articulate. I cannot add to the report, however, I can provide some highlights and encourage you to go farther <the report>

From the executive summary:

Our analysis shows that the technological controls in the Diebold software do not provide sufficient security to guarantee a trustworthy election. The software contains serious design flaws that have led directly to specific vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit. These vulnerabilities include:

  • Vulnerability to malicious software…
  • Susceptibility to viruses…
  • Vulnerability to malicious insiders…

Although we present several unpublished vulnerabilities, many of the weaknesses that we describe were first identified in previous studies…

we conclude tht the safest way to repair the Diebold system is to reengineer it so that it is secure by design.

And some tibits inside especially of interest to Connecticut and the AccuVote-OS optical scanner:

Part of the promise of electronic voting is that technological and procedural safeguards can be combined to conduct elections more securely than every before. The Diebold system does not live up to that promise…the security of elections conducted on the Dieblod system depend almost entirely on the effectiveness of election procedures…we worry that despite the best efforts and intentions of election officials, the procedures would not be followed perfectly every time.

Our analysis is based on the source code provided and documentation…we do not have a complete list of the Diebold system sofware. We are aware of several softare compontnts that the system uses that we did not receive…

Due to this architecture, a breach of any part of the software may lead to security violations and breaches of the rest of the software. In this sense the software is fragile. It is like an ocean liner without watertight doors.

Once again, I encourage you to read and learn.


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