Researches Hack Voting Machine for $26 in Parts
This is something I have written about a lot in the past five years, yet I rarely get anyone’s attention when I talk about the ability for people to take control of these machines that many of us use to vote with. These machines in question, used in 22 states, are very vulnerable to attack and those who run them and made them systems know of this vulnerability. Why do they know? A research company has shown a way that someone, for a total of $26, can manipulate the system with a cheap microprocessor and circuit board, along with a remote control that can control the machine from up to a half-mile away. This should be a cause for concern to those out there that actually want their votes to count and do not want others who have the ability to do this the opportunity to change the way an election should be decided.
For many years I have taken the time and energy to write about these issues because they are very important. I have spent much of my life learning about computers, building computers, and writing code. I understand what kind of damage this can have on the populace when these machines are so vulnerable. Many months ago I took it upon myself to be the only one of the Blog Talk Radio hosts to call out in open blog and on my podcast about the security restraints being used to keep the hosts and their shows secure. While other hosts kept their mouths shut and the management at Blog Talk Radio refused to answer my questions, the problem today still persists because people are not willing to stand up for something more than what the believe is important to them. In this case, we have something that we all see as sacred, and there are not many people out there (except for the research companies such as this one who did this study) who really care about what the implications are of having these voting machines hacked. It is a very large issue, and the states must do something to make sure this does not happen ANYWHERE. It is one thing for a website like Facebook or other social network to leave you vulnerable, it is another thing for the states to allow such a big gap in security when elections are paramount to our society as a whole.
I am so passionate about these problems because I know what kind of effect they have. Moving into the 21st century is great, but it only works if you have the people on the payroll that can find these problems and point them out so they can be fixed. Many times, when these problems ARE pointed out they are left unfixed because it would cost much more to fix them than to try and beat those who are going to go into the system. In this case, it would be very inexpensive to add security to the machines and keep the votes of those in the community safe. Why it is not being done is beyond me, but it is up to us to call and write our state legislatures and ask them what is being done to keep these machines from being attacked. If you state uses one of these machines, you should be asking these questions of your elected officials in the area. These machines are used, as I have said, in about 22 states and are Diebold Accuvote TS systems. Diebold is now owned by a company named Dominion Voting Systems, which is based out of Denver. If you are unsure if your area uses these machines, make sure to contact your local government officials to ask them what machines are used for your area.
This is an extremely important issue that we all must make sure we are on top of. Just as you are careful when you go to the ATM, make sure you are just as aware when you go to vote. If you feel there is something wrong with the machine (if there is something jammed into the machine or the touchscreen is not working properly) make sure to tell the poll workers right away so they can take the machine out of use. If you vote on a machine that has been compromised, your vote could be lost. If you believe as many of Americans do that our vote is sacred, you need to make sure to pay attention when you see something that may not be right. It is not a crime to report these malfunctions to those working the polls, it is your duty to do so. In an age when technology can be manipulated in so many different ways, we have to keep an eye out for those small things that may not have set off anything inside our heads previous. Technology is a great thing, but in the wrong hands it can be used against the people.
There are so many problems in the world these days that we have to worry about, and voting should not be one of them. While I do agree it is easier to have these kinds of machines and they can be used for the betterment of the people, they have the downsides as I have listed here in this blog. Those who know technology and have been working with it for a very long time, you know where there is a fix there is always someone out there ready to beat it. While the fix for this problem is easy, it does not take away the chance these machines can be manipulated in another way. That should not worry us, but it should get us to ask more questions of the system as it is and ask if going back to the old system is not better for the people. After a conversation, the people may feel it is to use other types of voting methods. This, also, will not take away from the chance of your vote being manipulated by someone else for their own gain, but the conversation must be had none the less. It is time for those of us who understand this to explain it to the seniors and also have them question the leadership in their states. It is as important to the older community as it is for the rest of Americans, and like everything else, if we do not demand answers the questions will never be answered.