Hacking Trial Breaks D.C. Internet Voting System
Sounds like it was easy:
Last week, the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics opened a new Internet-based voting system for a weeklong test period, inviting computer experts from all corners to prod its vulnerabilities in the spirit of "give it your best shot." Well, the hackers gave it their best shot -- and midday Friday, the trial period was suspended, with the board citing "usability issues brought to our attention."
Stenbjorn said a Michigan professor whom the board has been working with on the project had "unleashed his students" during the test period, and one succeeded in infiltrating the system.
My primary worry about contests like this is that people will think a positive result means something. If a bunch of students can break into a system after a couple of weeks of attempts, we know it's insecure. But just because a system withstands a test like this doesn't mean it's secure. We don't know who tried. We don't know what they tried. We don't know how long they tried. And we don't know if someone who tries smarter, harder, and longer could break the system.
Posted on October 8, 2010 at 6:23 AM • 47 Comments