An authentication and ballot layout attack against an optical scan voting terminal

Aggelos Kiayias, Laurent Michel, Alexander Russell, Narasimha Shashidhar, Andrew See, Alexander A. Shvartsman

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract

Recently, two e-voting technologies have been introduced and used extensively in election procedures: direct recording electronic (DRE) systems and optical scanners. The latter are typically deemed safer as many recent security reports have discovered substantial vulnerabilities in a variety of DRE systems. In this paper we present an attack against the Diebold Accuvote optical scan voting terminal (AV-OS). Previously known attacks direct to the AV-OS required physical access to the memory card and use of difficult to find hardware (card reader/writer). Our attack bypasses these issues by using the serial port of the AV-OS terminal and reverse engineering the communication protocol, in essence, using the terminal itself as a reader/writer. Our analysis is based solely on reverse-engineering. We demonstrate how an attacker can exploit the serious security vulnerability of weak (non-cryptographic) authentication properties of the terminal. The attack payload delivers a tampered ballot layout that, depending on the scenario, allows swapping of candidate votes, neutralizing votes, or even shifting votes from one candidate to another.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes
Event2007 USENIX/ACCURATE Electronic Voting Technology Workshop, EVT 2007, co-located with the 16th USENIX Security Symposium - Boston, United States
Duration: Aug 6 2007Aug 6 2007

Conference

Conference2007 USENIX/ACCURATE Electronic Voting Technology Workshop, EVT 2007, co-located with the 16th USENIX Security Symposium
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoston
Period8/6/078/6/07

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Public Administration

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'An authentication and ballot layout attack against an optical scan voting terminal'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this