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100+ Diebold voting machines, known for how easily they can be hacked, available now on EBay

March 30, 2011 |  3:39 pm

VotingmachineYou really can get anything on EBay, even electronic voting machines proved to be easy to corrupt for purposes of voting fraud.

Brad Friedman of the Brad Blog first noticed that "more than 10" AccuVote-TS voting machines, built by Diebold, were being sold on the online auction site for the buy-it-now price of $1,200 (plus $50 shipping and handling).

The machines are used and don't come with user's manuals, power supplies, batteries or memory cards, which may explain their discounted price. However, for those who wish to rig elections, machines like these are priceless.

Friedman was contacted by the seller, who told him that he had more than 100 of the electronic voting machines that were originally used in Van Wert County, Ohio.

AccuVote-TS voting machines were also used in New Jersey, when a professor at Princeton demonstrated how easy the Diebold machines were to manipulate for nefarious means.

In congressional testimony in 2006 on "Electronic Voting Machines: Verification, Security and Paper Trails," professor Edward W. Felten explained to the Committee on House Administration that the AccuVote-TS was quite easy to hack through "malicious software" to produce whatever election results a criminal would want to achieve (click here to download a PDF of his entire testimony).

How easy? It would only take one minute to install the software that would destroy the integrity of the voting.

"Anyone who has physical access to a voting machine, or to a memory card that will later be inserted into a machine, can install said malicious software using a simple method that takes as little as one minute," Felten told Congress of his team's findings. "In practice, poll workers and others often have unsupervised access to the machines."

The professor singled out the very machines that are now being sold on EBay as being easy prey to those who wish to fix elections. 

"AccuVote-TS machines are susceptible to voting-machine viruses -- computer viruses that can spread malicious software automatically and invisibly from machine to machine during normal pre- and post-election activity. We have constructed a demonstration virus that spreads in this way, installing our demonstration vote-stealing program on every machine it infects," Felten testified.

Earlier that month the professor and two colleagues demonstrated their findings about the AccuVote-TS in a video, seen below.

 

Note: Andrew Malcolm is on vacation.

-- Tony Pierce
twitter.com/busblog

Photo: An AccuVote-TS voting machine Credit: EBay

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