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THE CAT THAT CONTROLS NEW HAMPSHIRE ELECTION PROGRAMMING

By       Message Bev Harris       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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Please distribute widely, Digg, Blog, reprints, get this to the media, etc.

A YouTube video from Black Box Voting that you won't soon forget:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiiaBqwqkXs

THE CAT THAT CONTROLS NEW HAMPSHIRE ELECTION PROGRAMMING

John Silvestro and his small private business, LHS Associates, has exclusive programming contracts for ALL New Hampshire voting machines, which combined will count about 81 percent of the vote in the primary. And as to Super Tuesday and beyond: Silvestro also has the programming contracts for the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

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Silvestro IS the New Hampshire chain of custody in New England -- Or at least, a very large component in it.

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

RARE VIDEO FOOTAGE

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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.

VOTING MACHINE CHECKUP

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 weeks.

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WE THINK IT DOESN'T TAKE THAT LONG

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 things!

NEW HAMPSHIRE HASN'T UPGRADED SYSTEM SECURITY

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Bev Harris is executive director of Black Box Voting, Inc. an advocacy group committed to restoring citizen oversight to elections.

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