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RE: Diebold Global Election Management System (GEMS) Backdoor Account Allows Authenticated Users to Modify Votes
From: Jaeson Schultz (jaesonjaeson.net)
Date: Wed Sep 22 2004 - 16:03:54 CDT
Thanks Jeff for your insightful response. In fact, here in California at
least, Diebold has already been found guilty of installing software on their
e-voting machines that was *never* certified by the state. This has led to
several of their machines being (rightfully) de-certified. So it seems they
already do just what you suggest they might.
I suppose though, that one could argue that posting *any* source code would
be quite an improvement. See
From: Lorne J. Leitman [mailto:leitmancs.pitt.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, September 22, 2004 1:05 PM
To: Jaeson Schultz
Subject: RE: Diebold Global Election Management System (GEMS) Backdoor
Account Allows Authenticated Users to Modify Votes
What's to stop them from giving you source code for one executable, and then
installing something totally different on the machines, come election day?
If you've read Ken Thompson's article "Reflections on Trusting Trust," you
realize that even the source code won't provide ultimate proof of security
and trustworthiness. Only dissecting the object code taken from one of the
voting machines in production can do that, and that's an exteremely
difficult thing to do.
To quote from Ken Thompson's article (which can be found at
"The moral is obvious. You can't trust code that you did not totally create
yourself. (Especially code from companies that employ people like
me.) No amount of source-level verification or scrutiny will protect you
from using untrusted code. In demonstrating the possibility of this kind of
attack, I picked on the C compiler. I could have picked on any
program-handling program such as an assembler, a loader, or even hardware
microcode. As the level of program gets lower, these bugs will be harder and
harder to detect. A well installed microcode bug will be almost impossible
to detect. "