Non-WTF job is really WTF!



  •  As much as I love this site, the Non-WTF jobs section recently came in serious doubt.  I don't think we can believe that all thses jobs are Non-WTF, now that Alex has chosen to post this ad from Diebold.

     For those who don't know, Diebold:

    -Has created one of the most monsterous (in terms of extremely low quality, extremely high hackability, and extremely high significance of impact) WTF's in the entire ~200 year history of our country;

    -Has all but admitted tampering with elections ("We'll help Ohio deliver its votes to the President", not denying reports of sneaking uncertified software into voting machines without notifying the responsible government entities), which is a 5th degree felony (at least here in Ohio).

    -Does not care that, and would rather cover up the fact that, using one of their voting machines you can throw an election in 30 seconds by using a hotel mini-bar keycard.

    Should we believe the Non-WTF jobs are really Non-WTF, after seeing an ad from a company who cares much more about helping Republicans and making money than upholing the responsibility it has as a voting machine vendor to not interfere with US citizens' constitutional right to vote?

    If this were my site I wouldn't accept an ad from such a company, no matter how much I was being paid.



  • Fear and Loathing time!

    I suspect he just wants a steady stream of WTF stories. 



  • I saw that post about a week ago and thought the same thing.  I think the WTF is mostly the company's track record.  Maybe their work environment isn't so bad though.

     Morally I don't think I could work for them; Might get indicted or at least subpoenaed.



  •  Thank you for the feedback.

    While I appreciate your concern, all of the points you’ve made are highly opinionated and have little factual basis. Couldn’t a Linux zealot say similarly subjective things about Microsoft (“convicted monopolist”)? Or an Oracle-Hater (like myself) say bad things about Oracle (“they’re fricken’ Oracle!”)?

    As a North-East Ohioan, I am very familiar with Diebold; they’re one of the area’s biggest employers. I am friends with people who work and have worked in various divisions, from security systems to their ATM machines. If anything, the only thing that makes them a “WTF” employer (in my eyes) is the Dilbert-esque environment that they share with all big companies. But some people love that culture and want the job-security it provides.

    To comment on your points, if they really had the ability and desire to conspire with so many people to throw an election, don’t you think we would have seen different results on Tuesday? I personally voted on a Diebold and there is no way I could have broken in to it due to the people watching me.

    Truth be told, voting, even with these “extremely hackable” machines has been made much more secure. Do you know how much easier it was to “hack” elections when they were on paper ballots that any joker with an offset printer and die cutter could print up?



  • IMO it's not at all necessary to "hack" a voting machine. All you have to do is to make sure that they do not work at all in those districts where the majority of voters vote for the other party (e.g. if afro-american voters are likely to vote for the democrats, a republican saboteur would want to disable the voting machines in "black" districts)



  • [quote user="Alex Papadimoulis"]

    While I appreciate your concern, all of the points you’ve made are highly opinionated and have little factual basis. Couldn’t a Linux zealot say similarly subjective things about Microsoft (“convicted monopolist”)? Or an Oracle-Hater (like myself) say bad things about Oracle (“they’re fricken’ Oracle!”)?

    [/quote]

    I get the distinct impression you haven't been reading any of the extensive literature on the matter.

    This is just a small list, gleaned from only one security analyst's website, on the subject of only Diebold's voting machines. I ignored all the other electronic voting machine manufacturers not because they're any better but because, quite frankly, no more fuel is needed on this fire.

    From what I have read about Diebold's software, it should have been on the front page long before now. Hard-coded secret keys released on public FTP servers. Using DES (not even 3DES) as their "ultra-secure" encryption algorithm. Using pseudorandom number generators which have been specifically cited as unsuitable for use in cryptography for exactly that purpose. The list of flaws is long and disgraceful.



  • I've heard from a number of sources that Diebold's other products
    (that is, the ones which are not voting machines) are supposedly quite
    good.  I don't have any experience which lets me confirm or refute
    this, though.

    Working for the group who develops the voting
    machines is certain to be a WTF, but in a big company, it's easy for
    one project's work environment to suck while other projects'
    environments may not. 



  • [quote user="Alex Papadimoulis"]

    While I appreciate your concern, all of the points you’ve made are highly opinionated and have little factual basis.

    [/quote]

    As a former designer and developer of kiosk-based terminals and POS systems, I can assure you that Diebold's voting machines are a massive WTF that beggars the brillant PaulaBean. Their security and reliability are crap.

    My concern undoubtedly mirrors the original poster's. At least one employer on your non-WTF jobs list has at least one project which is a truly mind-blowing WTF. How do we know that the others don't also have such projects? How do we know the position listed isn't on one? Given that you undoubtedly collect a fee from these listings, how can we rely on you to make an accurate determination?

    You also have two listings from Artisan Consulting in Washington state. I interviewed for a position through them about eight months ago, and my interviewer was apparently retarded. He wanted Java experience for an ASP project. I asked why, and he said they were writing their ASP pages in Java. I observed that this was not possible, and he said I must not have the kind of experience they needed. I asked if he meant they were writing the ASP in JavaScript - which is possible - and he explained that JavaScript runs in the browser, while Java runs on the server, so I clearly don't know anything about web development. That's a pretty big WTF right there, since you can run both Java and JavaScript on both the client and the server - as anyone who knows anything about web development would know. Not that I expect my manager to know these things, but I expect him to know whether he knows them.

    Now, Artisan is a consulting firm, so I'm sure they have multiple clients. It's unlikely that either of the two Artisan positions would be at this same company. But have you in fact made a personal verification of this position's validity? What exactly happens if I apply and get interviewed and get the job, and it turns out to be a WTF? Does that company not get to advertise jobs here anymore?

    That's what's really missing here. You've promised us that you'll make sure the jobs on that board are not WTF jobs. But how do you do that, and what if you're wrong? Do you honestly expect me to believe you've verified with Artisan that their client isn't an idiot? How would you even do that? And again, WHAT IF YOU'RE WRONG?



  • Double posted, sorry. Delete period expired? WTF?



  • "In January, source code for the AccuVote-TS system made by Diebold
    Election Systems was found on an unprotected FTP server belonging to
    the company.

    Researchers at Johns Hopkins and Rice universities who read the Diebold code found numerous security flaws in the system and published a report (PDF) that prompted the state of Maryland to conduct its own audit of the software."

    From http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,61014,00.html 


     Alex, you may not have been able to mess with the machines due to people watching you, but who's watching the people watching you?
     

    It has been demonstrated that the memory card for a Diebold machine can be tampered with to give one candidate an advantage without generating a suspicious entry in any log files. The cards stored votes in signed integers without any sanity checks by the software. Candidate Alex could be started with 500 votes, while candidate jazzcat may be given -500, so the vote totals are always correct.

     If you think this is an unlikely scenario, consider this case from the 2000 US elections:
     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volusia_error 



  • I must say that after seeing the Diebold ads, I can no longer take the Non-WTF Jobs section seriously.  Hey, SCO may be a wonderful place to work too, but I wouldn't care to find out.  Bringing the Linux/Microsoft argument into it is reductio ad absurdum. Reputation does matter, but if Alex wants to associate his reputation with Diebold's, hey, it's his website.



  • [quote user="ithika"]I get the distinct impression you haven't been reading any of the extensive literature on the matter.[/quote]

    Why, because I disagree with it? I've kept up with e-voting over the past few years and understand it more than most. I even watched the video produced by the Princeton folks, read all twenty-three pages of the report, read the rebuttal, and read the reply to the rebuttal. As an informed adult and IT Professional, I side with Diebold: I believe that Princeton test conditions were not realistic.

    I'm not saying that they're perfect. The early machines had flaws, but according to both Diebold and their customers, they were fixed in a very timely manner and did not cause any voting issues. The fact is that they're FAR more secure than the paper ballot system. I see it as a step in the right direction.



  • [quote user="CDarklock"]As a former designer and developer of kiosk-based terminals and POS systems, I can assure you that Diebold's voting machines are a massive WTF [/quote]

    And this is from your direct experience in testing their machines? From your experience in voting on them?
     

    [quote user="CDarklock"]At least one employer on your non-WTF jobs list has at least one project which is a truly mind-blowing WTF. How do we know that the others don't also have such projects?[/quote]

    Since we've already demonstrated that your first statement is subjective, I would encourage you to spend a few minutes researching the company to determine if it's a good fit for YOU. I can't make that determination because a "WTF" to me (any job where I'm expected to do unpaid overtime) is probably not a WTF for you. What I can do is make sure that you do not see crap like this. And this. And well, you know how to search Dice and Monster.


    [quote user="CDarklock"]Given that you undoubtedly collect a fee from these listings, how can we rely on you to make an accurate determination? [/quote]

    Any idea how much one of those stupid green underline advertisers offered to pay if I put their ads on here? It was more than I made at my last full-time job as a Sr. Developer. Like I've said before, if I wanted money, I would become a full-time highly-paid consultant. My motivation behind HiddenNetwork is more than just financial.

    [quote user="CDarklock"]What exactly happens if I apply and get interviewed and get the job, and it turns out to be a WTF? Does that company not get to advertise jobs here anymore? [/quote]

    Here is the statement of quality:

    Although we do not maintain any communication with candidates who apply for job listings, we do ask all users of the network -- bloggers, employers, and readers -- to notify us if they find that anything has violated our standard of high quality throughout the network. We thoroughly investigate all quality complaints and will take whatever action is necessary to maintain our quality, up to and including permanently banning from our network.

    In the event that you filed a complaint, I (or one of my c/w) would investigate. If they told you "C# Dev" and your day-to-day was "VBA Dev," they'd be banned. If you thought your manager was an idiot because he refused to pay your way to PDC and you stormed out and quit, we'd appologize to the employer.

     

    [quote user="CDarklock"]Do you honestly expect me to believe you've verified with Artisan that their client isn't an idiot? How would you even do that? [/quote]

    I personally called the contact and chatted with him (Dave I think it was) for a few minutes. It's pretty easy to tell if they're the "used car salesman" type (he wasn't) or a honest guy trying to find some good people (he was). Not all employers are called (Artisan was b/c they were a consulting/placement firm), but we do look at every single listing and verify the company. No one (not even an employee of the company) can do much more than that.



  • [quote user="bobday"]you may not have been able to mess with the machines due to people watching you, but who's watching the people watching you?[/quote]

    This is an unsolvable problem in ALL domains: the watchers are always unwatchable. Elections solve this problem because there are so many people involved; there is simply no possible way a small group of people could infiltrate and ruin an election. I challenge anyone to come up with that scenario. Sure, they may be able to throw one or two polling places, but that would only matter in a tight race ... and tight races get recounts and have lots of eyes watching them.

    [quote user="bobday"]It has been demonstrated that the memory card for a Diebold machine can be tampered with to give one candidate an advantage without generating a suspicious entry in any log files[/quote]

    Emphasis added. I don't understand why this phrase is tossed around as if its such an easy thing to do. It's like saying, "if a robber can get the safe combination, its contents can be stolen." Except, with elections, he'd have to tamper with hundreds, if not thousands, of machines.

    [quote user="bobday"]<font color="#02469b">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volusia_error</font> [/quote]

    That same article that you linked to proves my point: "Eventually the error was fixed, and the correct vote count discovered." Mistakes were made, discovered, and corrected. As far as I'm concerned, the system worked.



  • [quote user="joe_bruin"]Bringing the Linux/Microsoft argument into it is reductio ad absurdum. [/quote]

    It's a very apt comparison. In fact, you'd have a much easier time saying a Microsoft job is a WTF: monpoloy, fined in half the states, giant EU fine, colusion with other governments, bribery, etc.

    Maybe you don't think Microsoft is a terrible company, but a lot of people do. How is this any different?



  • Wow, four posts of rebuttal.I wonder what conclusion I should draw.

    Can I ask, is there any company you would refuse to take as a client on ethical grounds? Nestle, Monsanto, Halliburton? Anyone?



  • [quote user="Alex Papadimoulis"]

    [quote user="bobday"]<font color="#02469b">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volusia_error</font> [/quote]

    That same article that you linked to proves my point: "Eventually the error was fixed, and the correct vote count discovered." Mistakes were made, discovered, and corrected. As far as I'm concerned, the system worked.

    [/quote]

    But it was a huge error and a major WTF and it may very well have happend (unnoticed) in other precincts as well. Then it can still have had an impact on the results of the elections (especially since it was such a close call).



  • The gross security issues aren't a particularly big deal here. Diebold is a WTF job because they build an election system on Access - heck, because they use Access at all. And because they have a login form protecting an unencrypted Access database stored on the local machine, which anybody could just open directly and modify instead of running the frontend applet with the login form.

    Diebold is worthy of a place on the front page, if anybody who works there would care to share some stories. The fact that their product stinks is not directly relevant here - the important part is that a company which can produce insane Access applications like this one has got to be a seriously WTFy place to work.



  • [quote user="Larry Lard"]Wow, four posts of rebuttal.I wonder what conclusion I should draw.[/quote]

    I replied to four comments from four different people.

     

    [quote user="Larry Lard"]Can I ask, is there any company you would refuse to take as a client on ethical grounds? Nestle, Monsanto, Halliburton? Anyone?[/quote]

    You strike me as the type of person who wants to live in a world of Big Evil vs Diminishing Good, where faceless mega-corps are bent on destorying the world as we know it for a handful of mustache-twirling, monocle-wearing profit mongers. Most people, including me, don't live in this world.

    You're expecting me to to not only share, but bestow YOUR set of moral values on every one else. Am I also expected to refuse job opportunities from companies who donated millions to Republicans? What about a company who donated to Democrats? Or a company run by Athiests? Or Christians?

    There are a LOT of job advertisments I would refuse. Take about 90% of what Monster or Dice has listed for an example of this. I will not, however, pass personal judgement using my set of moral values on a company; if you don't like what they do, be it using Microsoft products (I've gotten three emails so far complaining of this so far) or building Fighter Jets, then don't apply. Boycott their products. Whatever. But don't expect everyone else to do the same.



  • [quote user="Larry Lard"]

    Can I ask, is there any company you would refuse to take as a client on ethical grounds? Nestle, Monsanto, Halliburton? Anyone?

    [/quote]

    What are your objections to these companies in particular? I've heard "Halliburton" and "Monsanto" thrown around as if they're shortcuts to some larger rant on what's wrong with the world. But I rarely see anything laid out against them (again, in particular). And Nestle? Not even on my radar screen, so if you could explain their evil shennanigans, thanks.



  • [quote user="asuffield"]The gross security issues aren't a particularly big deal here. Diebold is a WTF job because they build an election system on Access - heck, because they use Access at all. And because they have a login form protecting an unencrypted Access database stored on the local machine, which anybody could just open directly and modify instead of running the frontend applet with the login form.

    Diebold is worthy of a place on the front page, if anybody who works there would care to share some stories. The fact that their product stinks is not directly relevant here - the important part is that a company which can produce insane Access applications like this one has got to be a seriously WTFy place to work.[/quote]

    It's odd to be 'defending' Diebold (I will never, ever, EVER work for them) but understand that AFAIK they BOUGHT the voting machine division; it wasn't Diebold management that created the WTF--they inherited it. Of course, not much got done about it (I read too many stories about cover-ups and the like) so the company is not completely blameless.

    If you want job listings filtered to your specifications, start your own listing.  Alex did.

    I see Hidden Network as a good start.  I still have to do my own filtering, because no one except me is going to know what sorts of jobs I want to see.
     



  • [quote user="asuffield"]Diebold is a WTF job because they build an election system on Access - heck, because they use Access at all. [/quote]

    So let me get this straight - a company uses {insert product that you think is stupid here} and they're an instant WTF? I use Access for several things around here - it's a great tool and gets the job done - I guess that makes my company a WTF? Every company I've ever worked for has used several Access databases. WTFs, too, eh?

    I'm curious as to what technology you would use to build an election terminal. Really, have you ever put any thought into it? Think about it for at least sixty seconds. Heck, give it a good nintey seconds. I'll wait.

    ...

    ...

    ...

    ...

    What'd you come up with? Develop a propietary operating system? Develop a propietary database engine? Those were both proposed by "high profile" critics as perfectly viable alternatives. That's one giant WTF in my book.

    This is not a topic that most people are willing to discuss on a serious level. Instead, they'd rather scream "OMFGWTFBBQ ACcess!?!! DieB0l!D is a st000pid!!!!" 

     

    [quote user="asuffield"]which anybody could just open directly and modify instead of running the frontend applet[/quote]

    Riiighht ..... that's completely irrelavent. If the physical security of the machine is comprimised, you're screwed no matter what.

     

    [quote user="asuffield"]Diebold is worthy of a place on the front page, if anybody who works there would care to share some stories.[/quote]

    I know four people who currently work FT at Diebold. I know seven others who have worked at Diebold as a contractor or perm. There's a good reason that there are no mainstream stories of "Diebold WTF" from insiders. They're not a bad place to work.



  • [quote user="Alex Papadimoulis"]

    [quote user="asuffield"]Diebold is a WTF job because they build an election system on Access - heck, because they use Access at all. [/quote]

    So let me get this straight - a company uses {insert product that you think is stupid here} and they're an instant WTF? I use Access for several things around here - it's a great tool and gets the job done - I guess that makes my company a WTF? Every company I've ever worked for has used several Access databases. WTFs, too, eh?

    [/quote]

    Alex,

    (I'm the OP)  I had a huge response written, but my PC ate it when I rebooted due to a malfunctioning TightVNC.  But the main point you're not getting: we're not complaining about the use of Access per-se; we're complaining about the use of Access in something as vital as an election system.

    Alex, would you trust your bank account to an ATM written with Access?  How about a pacemaker - if someone figured out a way to shoehorn an Access runtime into a pacemaker, would you let doctors install it so that it could control your heart? If so, then your arguments are completely valid here.  But I suspect you know that Access is nowhere near acceptable for such mission-critical work.  The outcome of elections have direct impacts on many millions of lives, not just one - so it's that much more important that elections have software that runs properly.  I'd argue that election software is just as important as pacemaker software, and much more important than the ATM software (that Diebold actually seems to be good at writing).

    I'm not sure what your background is, but I would guess that it isn't security.  You mentioned that, after having read the Diebold reports and their rebuttals, you agreed with Diebold in that the Princeton study was unrealistic.  This doesn't matter - someone who thinks about security ought to be paranoid, as many of us who work in large corporations with excellent security and network admins know.  As history has proven over and over again, nothing is unrealistic when it comes to people wanting to steal elections.

    I disagree with your assertion that paper ballot voting is equally as secure, or less secure, than the Diebold systems.  If someone with an offset printer and an axe to grind wants to throw an election, that person needs to get an official ballot box, AND print up ballots, AND mark on each of those ballots by hand the candidate he wants (because during a recount they'd notice that the vote-marks did not indent the paper), AND figure out a way to make the number of ballots match the people who voted in that precinct on that day, AND find some way to break in and replace the real ballot box with his.  If you want to throw an election on a national scale, you need to repeat this process with lots of guys.

    On the other hand, if your precinct uses the Diebold system, all you need to do is break into the polling place before the election and budget about 30 seconds per system to insert your own vote-throwing, log-covering-up code.  Heck, many polling places are in schools; so you just hire a highschooler to do the same.  The total time invested is much, much smaller, as is the ease with which you can do this.  (One of the election-day news stories from central Ohio was that a school housing voting machines had been broken into.  They said that there was no evidence of vote machine tampering, but because Diebold machines are so easy to get into there is no way to say this with certainty.)

    If anything, an electronic voting machine should consist of an embedded computer with a very small OS (or preferably no OS) and the software certified and burned into ROM, so that there is absolutely no way to tamper with it.
     



  • As for the "old school" hacking of paper ballots, you wouldn't have to go to all that trouble to "change" votes. The preferred method is to simply steal boxes of ballots (ballots that have been marked by voters, of course) and put them wherever James Hoffa is. You just make sure to steal them from precincts where your opponent is going to do well. This is easy, relatively speaking. Then of course there are all those old methods such as guiding voters to the wrong precinct, bribing election officials, etc. Nothing new about it, and it works regardless of the technology.

    I don't think electronic voting machines are inherently more risky. jazzcat mentions that "...all you need to do is break into the polling place before the election..." Is that any easier than the methods mentioned in my preceing paragraph?

    That being said, I am all for making them as secure as possible, since doing so since the cost-to-benefit ratio is so good. 




  • [quote user="jazzcat"]would you trust your bank account to an ATM written with Access?  How about a pacemaker - if someone figured out a way to shoehorn an Access runtime into a pacemaker, would you let doctors install it so that it could control your heart? [/quote]

    Those are unfair analogies because neither has the same requirements that a voting terminal does: self contained kiosk that records votes that are physically taken to tally machine.

    Why is Access not suitable for this? You have not demonstrated that Access is a poor choice for "mission critical" applications. The main beef that I have with Access is that it empowers users to create applications that programmers must support later. In the hands of a competent programmer, Access is an excellent tool. It's been around for over ten years and has nearly all the bugs worked out. Would a custom-built database engine be more reliable? Would a more complicated set-up (let's say, MSDE + ODBC + Forms) be more reliable?


    [quote user="jazzcat"]Heck, many polling places are in schools; so you just hire a highschooler to do the same.  The total time invested is much, much smaller, as is the ease with which you can do this. [/quote]

    It's not possible to hack an election at the polling places, either on paper or electronically. To make any noticiable difference, you'd have to hit polling places across the state in a coordinated effort that puts everyone involved at risk of serious legal penalties (many years in PMITA prison). Think it out: what would it take to make an unoticiable 3% difference at a state level? It needs to happen at a higher level, like the tallying machines.


    [quote user="jazzcat"]because Diebold machines are so easy to get into there is no way to say this with certainty.[/quote]

    Could you have done physical security better? Poll workers need to open up the machines to pull the votes out of it. I think a lock & key is the best way to do this - yes, it's pickable, but last I heard, no lock is safe from locksmiths. Technicians need to open up the machines to fix them. To do so, they have to break the numbered tamper tape. Is there a better way than tamper tape?

    YES, they are easy to get in to. But it's much easier to tell if they've been cracked open.


    [quote user="jazzcat"]If anything, an electronic voting machine should consist of an embedded computer with a very small OS (or preferably no OS) and the software certified and burned into ROM, so that there is absolutely no way to tamper with it.[/quote]

    I don't disagree, but who's going to pay for that? Like anything else, there's a budget to work with and what you propose is unrealistically expensive. Heck, even the military is moving away from that type of development.

     



  • [quote user="R.Flowers"]
    And Nestle? Not even on my radar screen, so if you could explain their evil shennanigans, thanks.
    [/quote]

    Animal abuse, such as exploiting the Nesquik rabbit for profit, the poor thing.



  • The real WTF is that the Democrats won in spite of Diebold's power to control the election.

    (To be fair, Diebold doesn't control all states.  Here in New Hampshire (where two Republican seats went Democrat) we use recountable paper ballots.)

     



  • [quote user="Alex Papadimoulis"]

    You strike me as the type of person who wants to live in a world of Big Evil vs Diminishing Good, where faceless mega-corps are bent on destorying the world as we know it for a handful of mustache-twirling, monocle-wearing profit mongers.

    [/quote]

    We gave up the monocles years ago, thank you very much.

    In all seriousness, it's amazing how many people turn to the conspiracy theory. Bush won Ohio in 2004, and Diebold's machines aren't perfect!  Anyone see a connection?  (Conveniently ignoring the close elections the Republicans failed to win in 2006.)  Which is more likely for an explanation of the 2004 election results: a conspiracy theory with spurious evidence, or simply that Bush sucked and Kerry sucked worse?

    Can anyone tell us about a former/current Diebold employee they've known personally that had a horrible experience there? Until then, I'm willing to give Alex the benefit of the doubt.

     





  • [quote user="Alex Papadimoulis"]

    And this is from your direct experience in testing their machines? From your experience in voting on them?

    [/quote]

    No, it's from two basic objective facts.

    1. A great many people have published facts about Diebold voting machines that are scary: you can compromise the tamperproof tape and all the votes on the machine are thrown out, you can open them with a hotel minibar key, you can install arbitrary software with a thumb drive, and you can install a viral package that "infects" other machines when the voting staff do their next check.

    2. Diebold has never said "that is not true". Since these facts are affecting Diebold's professional reputation, as we see here, they have a vested interest in stopping these statements. Which they are trying to do: they have asked that a PBS report about Diebold voting machines be pulled from the air, so people won't see it. They haven't gone to the courts and said "this report is a lie, please issue a restraining order", which the courts would of course do if the report were indeed false. They have simply begged PBS not to tell people.

    Do you have an alternate explanation? Like, "Diebold has better things to do than protect their reputation and stock price"?

    Since we've already demonstrated that your first statement is subjective,

    You have demonstrated nothing. You have only cast aspersions on my ability to evaluate Diebold's machines. But I didn't make the video of "how to hack a voting machine", and I didn't write the virus that infects Diebold machines, and I didn't produce the television program about their massive insecurity and unreliability. I don't need to evaluate them. Other people are evaluating them. You need to discredit hundreds of people independently verifying these results. In short, you need to demonstrate that peer review doesn't work, which collapses the entire foundation of scientific research. If you can do that, I suggest it is pretty damned important that you do so as soon as possible.

    My motivation behind HiddenNetwork is more than just financial.

    But some part of that motivation is financial, and a conflict of interest could arise, which is a valid concern.

    If they told you "C# Dev" and your day-to-day was "VBA Dev," they'd be banned.

    But if they did indeed want a C# developer, and that C# developer's job was indeed to maintain their inventory system, and their system was twelve megabytes of PInvoke() calls produced by a C++ to C# conversion program... that isn't a problem?

    Most of the WTF we see here isn't factual error, it's the stupidity produced by a predecessor. If you're measuring factual error in the job listing, that's not any guarantee of a non-WTF job. It's a false premise.

    It's pretty easy to tell if they're the "used car salesman" type (he wasn't) or a honest guy trying to find some good people (he was).

    But you haven't talked to the person who actually offers the job, and for confidentiality reasons you can't. How do you know a used car salesman didn't retain an honest guy trying to find good people? YOU DON'T. That concerns me.

    No one (not even an employee of the company) can do much more than that.

    Which is precisely why many of us are skeptical of this entire endeavour. We have said from the very beginning that we don't see how you can possibly give us any guarantee of a non-WTF position, and it's starting to look like you really can't.



  • This is a hot thread indeed!

    I think you are ALL missing the point.

    The true issue with our government elections has nothing to do with the Diebold machines. Lets face it, there are a lot higher level things going on in government. They wouldn't waste their time hacking voting machines... They would simply stack the deck with candidates they cannot lose with.

    If you still have the illusion that things will suddenly get noticeably better with a different party as a majority, then you are in for some disappointment. All they do is shuffle the people around, nothing changes. Things are decided for us long in advance. Elections are just a way of keeping the illusion of democratic control alive.

    Relax, Diebold will never be the issue. We are all (those of us in the US at least) on the same ride, and none of us has any control. We will get led where they want us to go.

    "Why am I in this handbasket, and where am I going?"

    Oh, and: 

    Go get em Alex! Keep up the good work!

     

     



  • [quote user="Alex Papadimoulis"]


    [quote user="jazzcat"]would you
    trust your bank account to an ATM written with Access?  How about
    a pacemaker - if someone figured out a way to shoehorn an Access
    runtime into a pacemaker, would you let doctors install it so that it
    could control your heart? [/quote]

    Those are unfair analogies
    because neither has the same requirements that a voting terminal does:
    self contained kiosk that records votes that are physically taken to
    tally machine.

    Why is Access not suitable for this?

    [/quote]

    It
    seems clear that you actually haven't read up on the issues with
    Diebold voting machines.  Access isn't running on the machines at
    all.

    The machines write counts to a memory card.  The counts
    are read into a PC running a program called GEMS, which is what
    consolidates the votes and reports the results.  GEMS stores the
    votes in an unencrypted Access database.  You can literally open
    the database up in Access, change the votes to whatever you want, and
    GEMS will report those results, with no audit trail of any kind
    indicating that the votes were tampered with. 

    Altering
    the individual voting machines is also possible by replacing the memory
    cards.  They store logic on the cards, which you can overwrite to
    replace votes as you see fit.  A test election was done where 6
    people votes No on a ballot question, and 2 people voted Yes.  The
    machine itself wasn't altered, just the memory card.  The results
    it counted were 7 Yes and 1 No.  That's what prints out on the
    audit ticket and gets imported into GEMS.

    In that particular
    case, it was an optical scan machine, so a manual recount would show
    the fraud.  A recount would also show fraud from editing the data
    directly on the GEMS machine.  However, a completely electronic
    machine with a modified memory card to skew votes would require
    inspecting the individual memory cards for evidence of logic tampering.

    The
    main WTF with electronic voting machines (not just from Diebold) is
    that the software is considered a trade secret, and not available for
    inspection by the public officials responsible for guaranteeing the
    integrity of elections.  The only reason Diebold's code got out
    was that they left it on a public FTP server (and they have the
    temerity to continue saying it was "stolen").

     



  • [quote user="R.Flowers"]

    What are your objections to these companies in particular? I've heard "Halliburton" and "Monsanto" thrown around as if they're shortcuts to some larger rant on what's wrong with the world. But I rarely see anything laid out against them (again, in particular). And Nestle? Not even on my radar screen, so if you could explain their evil shennanigans, thanks.

    [/quote]

    Monsanto is pretty easy.  Just read the Wikipedia entry.  Even if you feel Wikipedia isn't a source of facts, the article gives you plenty of things which you can investigate on your own with some simple seraching.

    Here's one that's stuck in my mind for many years.  The Washington Post may have published it in 2002 but the actual accounts are considerably older than that, and my degree in environmental science led me to read far more about it than I cared to.  Streams so polluted that fish die in seconds, and their skin/scales fall right off.  Sounds more like a Simpsons episode than reality, but the documentation on it is pretty firmly established.  (Even if you don't care about fish... what do you think something that does that kind of damage to fish is going to do to the human body?)



  • [quote user="MasterPlanSoftware"]

    I think you are ALL missing the point.

    The true issue with our government elections has nothing to do with the Diebold machines.

    [/quote]

    We're not talking about elections. We're talking about job listings for Diebold in the "Non-WTF Jobs" board. Since Diebold clearly has some WTF jobs, the question is how we know the particular jobs listed are not WTF jobs. The only reason we're discussing voting machines is because they're the biggest WTF at Diebold.

    So while the point has certainly been missed, I don't think we're the ones missing it.



  • [quote user="CDarklock"]A great many people have published facts about Diebold voting machines that are scary: you can compromise the tamperproof tape and all the votes on the machine are thrown out, you can open them with a hotel minibar key, you can install arbitrary software with a thumb drive, and you can install a viral package that "infects" other machines when the voting staff do their next check.
    [/quote]

    Diebold has responded to each of these "facts" in great detail. We've read the same material and have come to a different conclusion. You see Diebold as an incompetent, politically-driven evil corporation (so far as I can tell). I see many of the complainers as good-willed yet attention-whoring whiners who use baseless assumptions and have little-to-no knowledge or experience in the domain of the US election process.


    [quote user="CDarklock"]In short, you need to demonstrate that peer review doesn't work, which collapses the entire foundation of scientific research. [/quote]

    This was not peer review; it was a farce. Most of the "research" by the anti-Deibold "independent" scientists is a complete slap in the face to real scientific research. You don't set out to prove something by removing all of the real-world considerations. Folks like you choose to ignore this fact because it's much more exciting to live in a "struggling good vs. overpowering evil" world with Republicans sneaking around to steal the vote.


    [quote user="CDarklock"]Which is precisely why many of us are skeptical of this entire endeavour. We have said from the very beginning that we don't see how you can possibly give us any guarantee of a non-WTF position, and it's starting to look like you really can't. [/quote]

    I honestly can't believe I have to say this. Seriously? You're making me say this?

    I will not be flying out to each and every job location, interviewing every employee in the company, pouring over the past five years of financial records, reviewing all of their code, and testing the drinking fountain water's arsenic level. Sorry to disappoint.

    What I will do is use my years of experience as a professional to make sure the job opportunities listed are high-quality advertisements and from legitimate companies like this one: http://jobs.thedailywtf.com/1001/listing.aspx?JobId=1000202

    Good luck finding that type of job on Monster or Dice. As far whether or not the fact that the VP of Sale's brother-in-law's cousin contributed $100 to the RNC in 1988 makes the company a morally devoid and, therefore, WTF place to work, I prefer to leave that up to the reader.



  • [quote user="Thanny"] A test election was done where 6 people votes No on a ballot question, and 2 people voted Yes.  The machine itself wasn't altered, just the memory card.  The results it counted were 7 Yes and 1 No.  That's what prints out on the audit ticket and gets imported into GEMS.

    In that particular case, it was an optical scan machine, so a manual recount would show the fraud.  A recount would also show fraud from editing the data directly on the GEMS machine.  However, a completely electronic machine with a modified memory card to skew votes would require inspecting the individual memory cards for evidence of logic tampering.[/quote]

    Aren't you underestimating the users? Although I trust the machine's reliability, I still looked at the audit ticket that was printed at the end of my voting session. If the machine changed 15% of the votes, I think the users would figure it out and report it early on.



  • [quote user="Alex Papadimoulis"]I'm curious as to what technology you would use to build an election terminal. Really, have you ever put any thought into it? Think about it for at least sixty seconds. Heck, give it a good nintey seconds. I'll wait.

    ...

    ...

    ...

    ...

    What'd you come up with? Develop a propietary operating system? Develop a propietary database engine? Those were both proposed by "high profile" critics as perfectly viable alternatives. That's one giant WTF in my book.

    [/quote]

    A voting terminal is not a hard thing to code.  Given a simple operating system to handle hardware interaction, I could write one in a day, and debug it the next.  If I could pick the hardware but had to write the drivers, it might take as much as a month -- the terminal code itself would be the OS.



  • [quote user="CDarklock"][quote user="Alex Papadimoulis"]

    While I appreciate your concern, all of the points you’ve made are highly opinionated and have little factual basis.

    [/quote]

    As a former designer and developer of kiosk-based terminals and POS systems, I can assure you that Diebold's voting machines are a massive WTF that beggars the brillant PaulaBean. Their security and reliability are crap.

    My concern undoubtedly mirrors the original poster's. At least one employer on your non-WTF jobs list has at least one project which is a truly mind-blowing WTF. How do we know that the others don't also have such projects? How do we know the position listed isn't on one? Given that you undoubtedly collect a fee from these listings, how can we rely on you to make an accurate determination?

    You also have two listings from Artisan Consulting in Washington state. I interviewed for a position through them about eight months ago, and my interviewer was apparently retarded. He wanted Java experience for an ASP project. I asked why, and he said they were writing their ASP pages in Java. I observed that this was not possible, and he said I must not have the kind of experience they needed. I asked if he meant they were writing the ASP in JavaScript - which is possible - and he explained that JavaScript runs in the browser, while Java runs on the server, so I clearly don't know anything about web development. That's a pretty big WTF right there, since you can run both Java and JavaScript on both the client and the server - as anyone who knows anything about web development would know. Not that I expect my manager to know these things, but I expect him to know whether he knows them.

    Now, Artisan is a consulting firm, so I'm sure they have multiple clients. It's unlikely that either of the two Artisan positions would be at this same company. But have you in fact made a personal verification of this position's validity? What exactly happens if I apply and get interviewed and get the job, and it turns out to be a WTF? Does that company not get to advertise jobs here anymore?

    That's what's really missing here. You've promised us that you'll make sure the jobs on that board are not WTF jobs. But how do you do that, and what if you're wrong? Do you honestly expect me to believe you've verified with Artisan that their client isn't an idiot? How would you even do that? And again, WHAT IF YOU'RE WRONG?

    [/quote]

     


    A guy from my last job worked for Diebold on the kiosk ATMs and POS systems as well (not in programmer land... I think he was an industrial engineer or process engineer for them), and he also had nothing but extremely negative things to say about his management chain and the company as a whole. And this was a guy who I know had very strong ethics, a great work attitude for the 2yrs. I worked with him, and was a pretty darned good process engineer.

    I agree with you about the Non-WTF job board. It's certainly not functioning as intended. I could care less about the allegations of Diebold "hacking" the election, but I've heard so many negative reports by people who worked at Diebold (and Youngstown/Lima/NE OH in general) at this stage in my career, that I'd have to be homeless to even consider working there.
     



  • [quote user="Alex Papadimoulis"][quote user="Thanny"] A test election
    was done where 6 people votes No on a ballot question, and 2 people
    voted Yes.  The machine itself wasn't altered, just the memory
    card.  The results it counted were 7 Yes and 1 No.  That's
    what prints out on the audit ticket and gets imported into GEMS.

    In
    that particular case, it was an optical scan machine, so a manual
    recount would show the fraud.  A recount would also show fraud
    from editing the data directly on the GEMS machine.  However, a
    completely electronic machine with a modified memory card to skew votes
    would require inspecting the individual memory cards for evidence of
    logic tampering.[/quote]

    Aren't you underestimating the users?
    Although I trust the machine's reliability, I still looked at the audit
    ticket that was printed at the end of my voting session. If the machine
    changed 15% of the votes, I think the users would figure it out and
    report it early on.

    [/quote]

    Assuming you get a printed
    receipt, that is... Here in NJ we used non-Diebold machines (at least
    where I voted; can't speak for sure for the rest of the state, though I
    believe I read that somewhere) which don't give you any paper
    confirmation.  I personally didn't have any problems, though I
    heard many stories of apparently malfunctioning ('X' lights switching
    back and forth on their own, etc.) and entirely broken machines. 
    Some places had to go to emergency paper ballots, and some voters were
    turned away, at least temporarily, due to a shortage thereof. 
    Somehow I find it hard to get worked up about the relatively small
    potential security issues when there are major reliability issues to be
    concerned with.  (Though I agree that, as long as they're fixing
    things...)

    As for the job listings, I have no reason to doubt
    Alex's judgment.  Just because a company is well-known for a
    particular WTF does not mean that all other projects in the company are
    so inclined.  If anything, I would expect them to be more vigilant
    now that their 'infamy' is wide-spread, and potentially less WTF-prone
    that other companies who are still flying under the proverbial
    radar.  Let the applicants decide how much of a risk the company's
    reputation is.  Who knows, maybe some Good Samaritan types would
    actually seek out such a position in the hope of making a positive
    difference.



     



  • [quote user="Alex Papadimoulis"]

    Diebold has responded to each of these "facts" in great detail. We've read the same material and have come to a different conclusion.

    [/quote]

    My conclusion is that Diebold has forgotten the single most important part of security: make the public FEEL secure.

    When I go to my bank, there is a series of about twenty cameras mounted on the wall near the ceiling. Four of them are real. The rest are fake. It would not measurably increase actual security to have twenty real cameras mounted there, but it increases the SENSE of security that people entering the bank have.

    Diebold doesn't do that. Diebold uses exactly what they need to use, no more, and when people say "that's not good enough" Diebold snorts and says "yes it is". That's condescending and disrespectful, and the American people don't like it. It doesn't MATTER if it's true.

    You don't set out to prove something by removing all of the real-world considerations.

    It depends very much on what you're proving. The conversation goes like this:

    Nerd: "You can open a Diebold machine with an easily available barrel-lock key that costs $3."

    Diebold: "That would never happen!"

    Well, you're probably right. But I would really rather hear you say "that's not true". The chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and this link is awfully weak. I don't care if you say "look, we've got people we hired especially to sit here and watch that link to make sure it doesn't break". Why didn't you just use a strong link? What was wrong with that? Was it just too damn much trouble to put on a lock that would be HARD to open?

    Couldn't you use a basic cylinder lock with triple-section mushroom pins? They're not THAT expensive, and they're a stone bitch to pick. Imagine this conversation:

    Nerd: "You can install a virus on the machines!"

    Diebold: "To do that, you need to open this lock. It is manufactured by this multi-billion dollar security company which is responsible for some of the best high-security locks in the world. Here is a cutaway view of the lock. Here is Bob, a professional safecracker."

    Bob: "This lock is almost impossible to pick."

    Diebold: "Here is a video of Bob picking this lock. Notice that he needs to get down on his knees in front of the lock so he can see inside of it. This is readily visible to poll workers and other voters, who can immediately tell Bob is doing something abnormal. Notice that it is taking him more than forty-five seconds to pick the lock. This is more than enough time for poll workers to call security and physically remove Bob from the premises. Even if Bob has a virus on a thumb drive in his pocket, he isn't getting it into our machine."

    Now Diebold looks all studly, and the guy whinging about viruses looks like an ass.

    Folks like you choose to ignore this fact because it's much more exciting to live in a "struggling good vs. overpowering evil" world with Republicans sneaking around to steal the vote.

    I am a Republican, dumbass. My offense at this is not that Diebold is somehow conspiring with this or that political group to steal elections; that's simply irrational. I am offended because a voting machine needs to look secure, and be secure, and make the voters FEEL secure. When Diebold dropped the ball on that, they betrayed the faith and trust our government placed in them.

    I don't need to invent conspiracy theories. Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity.

    I honestly can't believe I have to say this. Seriously? You're making me say this?

    No. You are. I didn't tell you to promise that these are non-WTF jobs.

    I would have told you to make no promises whatsoever, and actually suggest that if you're LUCKY, who knows! You might find a WTF job! I'd even go so far as to add fake job opportunities to the board that were an obvious WTF, so you could (anonymously) ridicule people who applied for them.

    That way, you haven't made any promises you can't keep, and when people get a shitty job through your site they just come and post about it. They're not mad at you for it, because it's not your fault. If some dork WAS mad at you for it, the rest of us would handily disabuse him of the notion that you are somehow responsible for the quality of the jobs you list.

    But you've decided to be responsible for the quality of those jobs. Not my problem: yours.



  • [quote user="Alex Papadimoulis"]

    Every company I've ever worked for has used several Access databases. WTFs, too, eh?

    [/quote]

    Every company I've ever worked for has used several Access databases too. Every single one of those databases was a WTF that made me want to stay as far away from it as possible. Thankfully, none of them were a significant part of the business or had anything to do with the products being sold. I've seen more than a few products that people were trying to sell that were based on Access, and of those that I reviewed, every single one earned a recommendation of "don't waste our money on this trash". The couple that were bought (because nobody who knew what they were doing checked them out first) were spectactular failures that were rapidly ditched because they didn't work.

    No, I can't explain why every Access application is an unbelievably disgusting pile of trash. I can only observe that they pretty much always are.

     

    I'm curious as to what technology you would use to build an election terminal. Really, have you ever put any thought into it?

    Since you ask, yes.

    The terminal would be running a trivial native application (vxworks, uclinux, or just bare metal) that displays the ballot as a preformatted image file (copy the bitmap into video memory, nothing more). Pressing the audio button works similarly - a raw audio file is copied to the DSP. Once you select your vote, it is printed onto a paper ballot, which is displayed to you from behind a glass pane; if you indicate approval, the ballot is dropped into the pre-sealed 'accept' bin, and if you indicate rejection, the ballot is voided (cut in half) and then handed to you for disposal, so you can see what's going on and be sure it wasn't accepted. Accepted ballots are also stored onto a memory card (or other storage device), as a flat hunk of data representing a text file, one line per vote. Ideally the memory card would be a write-once device, since the data is append-only. We're talking about something that can be accomplished in less than 1k lines of code here, without any libraries or operating system support or anything.

    Ballot collection is accomplished with an equally trivial application that copies the file off each card and then totals them. Less than 100 lines of code here, in the scripting language of your choice. After the event, each bin is unsealed and put through an optical scan machine which compares its contents to the data on the card (this can happen any time in the next week or so; since everybody knows it's going to happen, there's no point in anybody messing with the cards, as it will be caught later). A random selection of the bins are also hand-counted, to ensure the accuracy of the machine.

    No databases in sight. No way to fudge the electronic count and get away with it, without also altering the paper system in exactly the same way - this is definitely more secure than using either of the two alone. Code so simple that any programmer can review it in under an hour, and even a layman can have it explained to them in a handful of hours.

    And that's just from idle consideration in the past couple of weeks, because people have been talking about it and it got me thinking. If I was building one for real, I'm sure I could design a better one than this - probably with cryptographic signatures and tamper-proof circuitry thrown in, and perhaps even some form of voter-verifiable paper trail (Ron Rivest has recently made some impressive developments in this field).

    What'd you come up with? Develop a propietary operating system? Develop a propietary database engine?

    Hey look, I didn't. I didn't even use an operating system or a database. Deliberately. Such things have no place in a problem of this nature. Simplicity is a virtue, and elections do not need very much flexibility.

    [quote user="asuffield"]which anybody could just open directly and modify instead of running the frontend applet[/quote]

    If the physical security of the machine is comprimised, you're screwed no matter what.

    Precisely. So explain to me why it has a complicated login applet strapped on the front that purports to track what users are doing, for security purposes? Therein lies the WTF.



  • [quote user="asuffield"]

    Since you ask, yes.

    [/quote]

    Your system seems to miss part of the purpose of electronic voting: to do away with the paper ballot.

    I do like the simple idea of a WORM drive to store results: hit the "go" button, data gets written to the drive. I also like the vertical embedded nature of the system, so you don't need more than a few basic drivers and a couple hundred lines of code. But there's one point I'm unsure about: the verification.

    Here's a box of ballots. Here's a storage medium of electronic results. You say "there's no point in anybody messing with the cards, as it will be caught later" - but what exactly do you do? Is the problem with the electronic data, or with the cards? Don't make two records, make one or three.

     



  • [quote user="CDarklock"]

    Your system seems to miss part of the purpose of electronic voting: to do away with the paper ballot.

    [/quote] 

    That's a silly purpose. What would it accomplish? Paper ballots aren't a bad thing.

    The 'official' purposes of electronic voting have always been: faster vote tallying (because Americans can't count as fast as Britons or Canadians, who count their paper ballots in under 12 hours), and better accessibility (which means reading out the ballot for blind people). The 'realistic' purpose has always been to make politicians look like they're improving matters and generate revenue for corporations who provide the equipment, in the tradition of US pork barrel politics.

     

    I do like the simple idea of a WORM drive to store results: hit the "go" button, data gets written to the drive. I also like the vertical embedded nature of the system, so you don't need more than a few basic drivers and a couple hundred lines of code. But there's one point I'm unsure about: the verification.

    Here's a box of ballots. Here's a storage medium of electronic results. You say "there's no point in anybody messing with the cards, as it will be caught later" - but what exactly do you do? Is the problem with the electronic data, or with the cards? Don't make two records, make one or three.

    I did say it was just some idle consideration - if you were designing it properly, those ideas could probably be extended and improved upon. But elections don't really need error correction, just error detection - if the recount shows an error, the law as it currently stands says you have a new election (and find the bozo responsible and toss them in jail). Adding more forms of record would certainly be a good idea but wouldn't change this; any significant discrepency will always void the election.



  • I think we're seeing some valid arguments from both sides, however, I'm shocked to have to say Alex's comments are excluded from the valid category.  


    Alex: thedailywtf is one of two sites I regularly read, and up until now I have never strongly disagreed with anything you've had to say (and I'm usually a hearty follower).  While you're right to say that Diebold is not pure evil incarnate, However, in these posts, you are quick to catagorize diebold bashers as "zealot" and say their arguments are "subjective", and your verbal abuse only escalated from there.  I found your arguments both defensive and offensive: categorizing our comments as "OMFGWTFBBQ ACcess!?!! DieB0l!D is a st000pid!!!!" ??? please alex, that hurts

    While you're right, with perfect security, the system isn't compromisable (although this doesn't address the reliability concerns at all), but is that really acceptable?  Shouldn't we expect a little more from a large corporation when it's been given a lot of money to develop a program which ultimately defines our country's political system?

    The fact is, I don't trust the Diebold electronic voting machines, because what I've read about them tells me they avoid any attempt at true security, (in a way that seems damnably deliberate, even).  And I won't trust them until I see a UML (or equivalent) diagram describing their processes and an decent explantion of what makes it secure.  

    In Alex's defense, (from what I've heard) Diebold also does good work with ATMs and such, and the jobs they're offering probably have to do with that.  So I don't agree that the Diebold jobs are necessarily a WTF.  It's more like, "WTF, Non-WTF jobs offered by company some consider immoral!"



  • [quote user="fluffy777"] you are quick to catagorize diebold bashers as "zealot" and say their arguments are "subjective", and your verbal abuse only escalated from there. [/quote]

    You're right, I could have expressed my points better. I did not mean to come across as dismissing all critics as zealots, only some of the posters on this thread:
    - "Has all but admitted tampering with elections"
    - "Diebold is a WTF job ... because they use Access at all"

    From reading through countless articles on the topic, I strongly believe that the Diebold debacle is politically motivated and has sucked a lot people without such motivations right in the middle of it. This is a very complicated issue that has been oversimplified for pure political gain.

    [quote user="fluffy777"]Shouldn't we expect a little more from a large corporation when it's been given a lot of money to develop a program which ultimately defines our country's political system?[/quote]

    And this is another part of the simplification. They weren't given a lot of money to build a product: they developed a product, marketed it, and sold it to customers who nickel-and-dimed them on every last detail.


    [quote user="fluffy777"] what I've read about them tells me they avoid any attempt at true security, (in a way that seems damnably deliberate, even).  [/quote]

    Does this make sense? Think about it: why would an established company (Diebold is almost 100 I think) be so incompetent in developing a machine that it has such a high level of domain expertise in? And not only Diebold, but the other e-Voting companies as well?

    Doesn't it seem more likely that the people who, admittedly, have no domain expertise, that are telling you this have political/financial/personal motivation to do so?


    [quote user="fluffy777"] (from what I've heard) Diebold also does good work with ATMs and such[/quote]

    And to add to the above point, they're even good with security as it is? Why would they be so bad in elections then?

    It just doesn't add up.


    [quote user="fluffy777"]It's more like, "WTF, Non-WTF jobs offered by company some consider immoral!"[/quote]

    I agree. From here on forward, consider that anything say/offer/guarantee/certify, will have the implicit disclaimer, "not necessarily moral for all." =-)



  • [quote user="Alex Papadimoulis"]


    [quote user="fluffy777"] what I've read about them tells me they avoid any attempt at true security, (in a way that seems damnably deliberate, even).  [/quote]

    Does this make sense? Think about it: why would an established company (Diebold is almost 100 I think) be so incompetent in developing a machine that it has such a high level of domain expertise in?

    [/quote]

    Diebold did not create these machines, they bought them. The real incompetence is their failure to fix any of the issues, but instead to try denying that problems exist (and repeatedly lying to members of the government and getting caught at it - they settled with California for $2.6m). And anyway, voting machines are almost, but not quite, entirely unlike ATMs. The threat model is completely different.


    Doesn't it seem more likely that the people who, admittedly, have no domain expertise, that are telling you this have political/financial/personal motivation to do so?

    You're the only person here who has a financial motiviation. As for "no domain expertise", Schneier himself has said that Diebold doesn't get it, and you're not likely to find a better expert than that.


    [quote user="fluffy777"] (from what I've heard) Diebold also does good work with ATMs and such

    And to add to the above point, they're even good with security as it is?

    [/quote]

    They aren't. Diebold managed to create the first ATM to get infected with (multiple) Windows worms. More of a resigned sigh than a WTF, but still pretty pitiful.



  • [quote user="asuffield"]

    That's a silly purpose. What would it accomplish? Paper ballots aren't a bad thing.

    [/quote]

    They are if you think several million paper ballots requires too many trees, which some Americans do.

    any significant discrepency will always void the election.

    Which is precisely why you want error CORRECTION: because voiding the election is an unacceptable consequence that ought to be prevented.

     



  • [quote user="Alex Papadimoulis"]

    And this is another part of the simplification. They weren't given a lot of money to build a product: they developed a product, marketed it, and sold it to customers who nickel-and-dimed them on every last detail.

    [/quote]

    So let me see if I understand this. Diebold developed and marketed a product which their customers told them was not good enough.

    On what planet does this mean "argue with the customer"?

    Doesn't it seem more likely that the people who, admittedly, have no domain expertise, that are telling you this have political/financial/personal motivation to do so?

    I've designed and built public terminal projects for easier access to government services, along with other specialised vertical devices in the public sector. I never worked for Diebold, but I did work for Grumman, McDonnell-Douglas, Boeing, Honeywell, BDM, Coleman Research, Cordant, Tracor, and Convergent Sciences. Eventually, I realised the entire industry was fundamentally corrupt, and moved to the West coast to work in the private sector.

    So I'd say I have some small amount of domain expertise.

    What about you? Ever design and implement hardware for the government on a national scale?

     



  • [quote user="asuffield"]As for "no domain expertise", Schneier himself has said that Diebold doesn't get it, and you're not likely to find a better expert than that. [/quote]

    The domain is elections, of which Schneier is by no means an expert. While he is an expert at security, he is only looking at a small part of the entire model. It's like being critical of a lock on a safety deposit box; sure, it can be easily defeated with a bumpkey or screwdriver, but you need to get unsupervised access to the vault first ...

    Consider his "argument" from the article that you linked:

    <!-- /robots -->

    This <font color="#0000eb">quote</font> sums up nicely why Diebold should not be trusted to secure election machines:

    David Bear, a spokesman for Diebold Election Systems, said the potential risk existed because the company's technicians had intentionally built the machines in such a way that election officials would be able to update their systems in years ahead.

    "For there to be a problem here, you're basically assuming a premise where you have some evil and nefarious election officials who would sneak in and introduce a piece of software," he said. "I don't believe these evil elections people exist."

     

    If you can't get the threat model right, you can't hope to secure the system.

    It'd be pretty easy for me to trash any security - be it servers or alarm systems - if I say, "well the sysadmin could easily use his super-access and get around it." The fact that Schneier and so many others ignore is that Election Officials are Trusted Administrators (to use our terminology) and have been for the past two hundred years or so. Why has this suddenly changed?



  • [quote user="CDarklock"]

    So I'd say I have some small amount of domain expertise.

    What about you? Ever design and implement hardware for the government on a national scale?

    [/quote]

    As I replied above, the domain is elections, not terminals. What you, and so many others, are missing is that the security of the election has always been placed in the hands of Election Officials. That system works; the only way to break it is to consipre with hundreds of officials. And good luck getting all those retired grandparent vetran Election Officials to risk felonies for not only tampering with machines, but for not reporting it ...



  • [quote user="Alex Papadimoulis"]

    As I replied above, the domain is elections, not terminals.

    [/quote]

    And as long as we're dreaming, I'd like a pony.

     


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