Top voting machine vendor admits it installed remote-access software on systems sold to the FPSA

Submitted by Freedomman on Wed, 07/25/2018 - 18:52

OMAHA, Nebraska (PNN) - July 18, 2018 - Election Systems and Software is the Fascist Police States of Amerika's leading voting machine vendor, a category notorious for buggy, insecure software and rampant manufacturer misconduct. As the 2018 elections loom, voting machine companies are coming under scrutiny, and when veteran security reporter Kim Zetter asked them, on behalf of The New York Times, if their products shipped with backdoors allowing remote parties to access and alter them over the Internet, they told her unequivocally that they did not engage in that practice.

But now, in a letter to Senator Ron Wyden [Ore.], they admit that they lied, and that they "provided pcAnywhere remote connection software to a small number of customers between 2000 and 2006," which was installed on the election-management system ES&S sold them.

ES&S did not respond on Monday to questions about the admission, and it’s not clear why the company changed its response between February and April. However, lawmakers have subpoena powers that can compel a company to hand over documents or provide sworn testimony on a matter lawmakers are investigating, and a statement made to lawmakers that is later proven false can have greater consequence for a company than one made to reporters.

Wyden said that installing remote-access software and modems on election equipment “is the worst decision for security short of leaving ballot boxes on a Moscow street corner.”

Election-management systems are not the voting terminals used to cast ballots: They stay in county election offices and contain software used to program the voting machines and count up final results from the voting machines. The remote-access software created an opportunity for hackers to breach the machines. Election-management systems and voting machines are supposed to be disconnected from the Internet and from any other systems that are connected to the Internet for security reasons. ES&S customers who had pcAnywhere installed also had modems on their election-management systems so ES&S technicians could dial into the systems and use the software to troubleshoot.