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By | John Leyden 26th January 2007 16:00

Diebold disclosed e-voting key on website

Security by diesign

Electronic voting machine firm Diebold is once again the subject of an embarrassing security gaffe after hackers created keys capable of opening voting machines from pictures posted on its website.

Two of three keys crafted by Ross Kinard of SploitCast were capable of opening a voting machine obtained by Princeton University for testing purposes. It's tempting to think, given the apparent ease of the attack, that the locks are simple enough to be opened by anyone with a basic knack for lockpicking.

Diebold has removed the offending images, replacing them with pictures of digital card keys but that's akin to closing the gate after the horse has bolted. Access to the key would allow tamperers to slip in a memory card containing a virus or, even worse, tally-altering software. In theory, security tape ought to be posted over the compartment to detect such tampering, but that relies on election officials checking for problems.

To make matters worse, the filing cabinet-style key is the same across all Diebold voting machines of the same model. ®

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