The dumbest thing a voting-machine maker ever did

In the run-up to the election, DVICE has been investigating the technology behind voting machines, and some of the weaknesses and problems with it. But I'm sure many of you still feel that there are bound to be small isolated problems with a task as mammoth as this, and that most of the time the voting machine companies do a pretty good job.

In that case, consider what must be the No. 1 most boneheaded move in voting machine history.

Hacking a voting machine usually involves getting inside and swapping out a chip or two, so you would think they would make them really hard to open up. Sure enough, it you look at a Diebold (now called Premier Election Solutions) AccuVote-TS machine, there's a locked cover keeping everything secure. The only problem is that even election officials lose their keys occasionally, so Diebold sells new ones to "Diebold account holders" through their online store.

Now this is where it gets really dumb. Right there on the order page is a picture of the keys (since removed), showing exactly what they look like. Dumber still, it turns out that every AccuVote-TS machine uses the exact same key, and dumbest of all, it's essentially the same as many of the keys used for hotel mini bars and office file cabinets. A group studying voting machine security at Princeton University found that with three blank keys, a file, and a small vice, they could easily make two working keys by copying the key pattern from the Diebold website.

Via The Brad Blog