jueves, 29 de septiembre de 2011
miércoles, 28 de septiembre de 2011
Diebold e-voting hack allows remote tampering
$11 microprocessor-in-middle attack is 'significant'
Computer scientists have demonstrated a hack that uses off-the-shelf hardware to tamper with electronic voting machines that millions of Americans will use to cast ballots in the 2012 presidential elections.
The attack on the Diebold AccuVote TS electronic voting machine, which is now marketed by Election Systems & Software, relies on a small circuit board that an attacker inserts between the components connecting the touch screen of the device to its microprocessor. The $10.50 card then controls the information flowing into the machine's internal processor, allowing attackers to change votes with almost no visible sign of what's taking place.
In a video demonstration, researchers from the Vulnerability Assessment Team at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois showed how the card could be used to briefly kill the power to the voting machine's touch screen to temporarily black out what's displayed so voters can't see their choices being modified. Using optional hardware costing about $15, they showed how attackers can remotely tamper with machines from distances as far away as half a mile.
Anyone with a eighth grade education could construct the cards using standard tools and off-the-shelf components, said the researchers.
“This is an attack that requires less skill, so you don't have to have people hacking the software,” said David Dill, a Stanford University computer science professor and a critic of electronic voting machines, who reviewed the demonstration. “On the other hand, this does involve messing with a lot of individual machines, so it might be a little harder to change very large numbers of votes without getting caught.”
Another hurdle to be cleared is getting physical access to the targeted machines. In theory, they're subject to chain of custody procedures to prevent unauthorized modifications to the internals. But as Princeton University computer science professor Ed Felton has documented on numerous occasions (most recently here), voting machines are routinely left unattended in the days and hours ahead of election day, making it possible for attackers to tamper with them.
The AccuVote TS is used in several states, including Maryland and Georgia, although voting officials in some jurisdictions have phased out its use because the DRE, or Direct Recording Electronic, voting system typically offers no print out. That makes it particularly hard to audit results.
The Argonne researchers said they've devised an even more powerful attack against the Sequoia Advantage AVC (PDF here), a competing electronic voting machine that's now marketed by Dominion Voting Systems. Whereas the hack of the Diebold machines allows the control of data sent only from the touch screen to the microprocessor, the attack on the Sequoia device allows “bidirectional” control, they said.
The researchers went on to say they believe their attack will work on a wide variety of electronic voting machines.
“I haven't seen this particular attack described and actually carried out experimentally,” said Avi Rubin, a computer science professor at Johns Hopkins University. “Definitely, many including myself have theorized about something like this, but seeing that they actually implemented it and that it was inexpensive and relatively easy, I think, is a significant result.”
Defenders of electronic voting are quick to point out that any system used to record hundreds of millions of ballots is vulnerable to tampering. Critics say e-voting is different because it affords fewer opportunities for officials to audit votes to gauge the accuracy of the results.
“There are a million ways to hack these machines, and there are a million ways these machines can just make mistakes because they have software bugs in them,” Dill said. “You have no way of checking independently of any computer whether the vote was accurately recorded and counted.”
The Diebold machine used in the demonstration was lent to the researchers by VelvetRevolution.us, a political advocacy group co-founded by Brad Friedman, who reported the scientist's demonstration for Salon.
martes, 27 de septiembre de 2011
y adivinen con que va a ser enterrado? Siiiiii
Doritos Creator to Be Buried With His Chips
The man credited with making one of the most habit-forming snack chips on the market has passed away, and according to a family member he will be buried with the crunchy goodies that will be his legacy.
Arch West, the man recognized as the creator of Doritos, passed away last week. His daughter, Jana Hacker, told The Dallas Morning News that his family plans on throwing Doritos in the ground before his urn is covered with dirt.
West, a former Frito-Lay executive, died of natural causes last week at the age of 97 and will be buried on Oct. 1.
The chips West invented, reportedly after a family trip to Mexico, will most likely become his greatest legacy. Crispy, cheesy, and unnaturally hard to put down once the bag is opened, Doritos have become a mainstay of American barbeques, college dorms, and all-night gaming sessions.
Throughout the years Frito-Lay has introduced many different varieties of the chips, from Cool Ranch to 3rd Degree Burn Scorchin’ Habanero, all to varying degrees of love and success.
To see the chemical composition of the Late Night All Nighter Cheeseburger version of Doritos, check out Wired’s regular feature, What’s Inside.
sábado, 24 de septiembre de 2011
Goodness has nothing to do with it
Utilitarians are not nice people
IN THE grand scheme of things Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill are normally thought of as good guys. Between them, they came up with the ethical theory known as utilitarianism. The goal of this theory is encapsulated in Bentham’s aphorism that “the greatest happiness of the greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation.”
Which all sounds fine and dandy until you start applying it to particular cases. A utilitarian, for example, might approve of the occasional torture of suspected terrorists—for the greater happiness of everyone else, you understand. That type of observation has led Daniel Bartels at Columbia University and David Pizarro at Cornell to ask what sort of people actually do have a utilitarian outlook on life. Their answers, just published in Cognition, are not comfortable.
Dr Bartels and Dr Pizarro knew from previous research that around 90% of people refuse the utilitarian act of killing one individual to save five. What no one had previously inquired about, though, was the nature of the remaining 10%.
To find out, the two researchers gave 208 undergraduates a battery of trolleyological tests and measured, on a four-point scale, how utilitarian their responses were. Participants were also asked to respond to a series of statements intended to get a sense of their individual psychologies. These statements included, “I like to see fist fights”, “The best way to handle people is to tell them what they want to hear”, and “When you really think about it, life is not worth the effort of getting up in the morning”. Each was asked to indicate, for each statement, where his views lay on a continuum that had “strongly agree” at one end and “strongly disagree” at the other. These statements, and others like them, were designed to measure, respectively, psychopathy, Machiavellianism and a person’s sense of how meaningful life is.
Dr Bartels and Dr Pizarro then correlated the results from the trolleyology with those from the personality tests. They found a strong link between utilitarian answers to moral dilemmas (push the fat guy off the bridge) and personalities that were psychopathic, Machiavellian or tended to view life as meaningless. Utilitarians, this suggests, may add to the sum of human happiness, but they are not very happy people themselves.
That does not make utilitarianism wrong. Crafting legislation—one of the main things that Bentham and Mill wanted to improve—inevitably involves riding roughshod over someone’s interests. Utilitarianism provides a plausible framework for deciding who should get trampled. The results obtained by Dr Bartels and Dr Pizarro do, though, raise questions about the type of people who you want making the laws. Psychopathic, Machiavellian misanthropes? Apparently, yes.
jueves, 22 de septiembre de 2011
Babbage, su maquina, Ada Lovelace, la programadora (hija de Lord Byron) y demas, vivieron en la epoca de vapor, y, como tal el primero diseño una computadora, obviamente movida a vapor, la 2da la programacion de la misma.
Ahora aparentemente estan juntando plata para hacerla andar
va a ser una cosa para ir a ver, aca la Difference Engine 2, construida en los 1980