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Silvestro the Cat and New Hampshire Elections

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Silvestro the Cat & New Hampshire Elections

John Silvestro and his small private business, LHS Associates, has the exclusive programming contracts for all New Hampshire voting machines, which combined will count about 81 percent of the vote tomorrow.

Silvestro IS the New Hampshire chain of custody

Or at least a very large component in it.

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Last fall, with the help of some New Hampshire citizens, Black Box Voting began working on a "New Hampshire Chain of Custody" project, in which we identified some of the areas of concern that might affect many jurisdictions at once. First on the list is LHS Associates, a vendor with inside access to every memory card in New Hampshire, as well as to the chips containing the "brain" of the Diebold optical scan machines.

LHS Associates programs all the memory cards in New Hampshire and
Connecticut; about all of Vermont's voting machines, and has a lock on
almost all of Massachusetts as well.


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In an unusual confluence of available video, we obtained footage of
Silvestro grappling with Harri Hursti, the master hacker who had his
way with the Diebold optical scans in Leon County, Florida in the
famous exploit that was showcased in the film Hacking Democracy.

The exact same make, model and version hacked in the Black Box Voting
project in Leon County is used throughout New Hampshire, where about
45 percent of elections administrators hand count paper ballots at the
polling place, with the remaining locations all using the Diebold
version 1.94w optical scan machine. Because the voting machine
locations tend to be urban, this represents about 81 percent of the
New Hampshire voters.

The video shows Harri Hursti testifying on Sept. 19 before the New
Hampshire legislature, attempting to explain significant
vulnerabilities requiring urgent mitigations; throughout his
testimony, Silvestro inserted his own comments, opinions,
misstatements and speculations.


One area of disagreement between Hursti and Silvestro was the amount
of expertise needed to exploit the Diebold 1.94w optical scan system.
Silvestro claimed (in a strange contortion of reasoning) that he
doesn't hire very skilled programmers, implying that this makes New
Hampshire elections more secure.

Hursti pointed out that hiring programmers with a lack of knowledge is
generally not considered a security feature, and also that an average
high schooler can learn to exploit the system in two days to two

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Black Box Voting purchased a Diebold optical scan with 1.94w firmware,
and chose a computer repair shop out of the phone book, took it in,
grabbed the first available technician. It took him less than 10
minutes to zero in on the memory card as a point of critical
vulnerability -- and oh my, did he point out some other intersting


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