Report: Virginia Voting Machines Could Have Been Easily Hacked For Over A Decade

A new report found that voting machines in Virginia used in three presidential elections were susceptible to hacking. They had passwords as penetrable as ‘abcde’ and ‘admin.’

As The Guardian reported Wednesday, the AVS WinVote machines, in service between 2002 and 2014, would receive an “F-minus,” according to a study prepared by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency.

According to the executive summary of the report entitled “Security Assessment of WInVote Voting Equipment for Department of Elections,” security protocols on the machines “would not be able to prevent a malicious third party from modifying the votes recorded by the WINVote devices.”

The primary contributor to these findings is a combination of weak security controls used by the devices: namely, the use of encryption protocols that are not secure, weak passwords, and insufficient system hardening.

Jeremy Epstein, of Menlo Park, California-based SRI International, served on a commission investigating the machines in 2008. He has been working to have them decertified since then.

“I got to question a guy by the name of Brit Williams, who’d certified them, and I said, ‘How did you do a penetration test?’” he told The Guardian. “And he said, ‘I don’t know how to do something like that’.”

Williams, now retired, referred The Guardian to former colleagues at Kennesaw State University who have taken over the reigns of certification duties since his departure.

“You could have broken into one of these with a very small amount of technical assistance,” Epstein told the publication. “I could teach you how to do it over the phone. It might require an administrator password, but that’s okay, the password is ‘admin’.”

The most recent commission found the software had not been updated since 2004, found that it was possible to “create and execute mallicious code,”and offered the following in conclusion:

  • Passwords were less than seven characters and did not meet best practices for complexity (i.e. they consisted of only lowercase letters). Cracking these passwords required minimal effort using freely available toolsets.
  • Passwords were consistent across all systems tested and appear to be part of the default configuration. All passwords identified were simple and easily guessed, consisting of either a common pattern (i.e., abcde), a common default password (i.e., admin), or a phrase directly related to the system manufacturer (shoup).
  • The scope of testing did not include the impact of changing the default password. But it does not appear possible to change the wireless password directly on the WINVote device. In addition, the impact to the WINVote application once the passwords were changed is unclear. Possible impacts range from lost communication between systems to the inability to record votes properly.

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Uses Anniversary of Lincoln’s Assassination To Call GOP Racist

Today marked yet another tax day come and gone. But, it also marked the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

Over at MSNBC, Hardball host Chris Matthews chose to use the anniversary as a way to slam the GOP for being a bunch of racists by supporting voter ID laws in 36 states. (Newsbusters points out that Rhode Island’s law was passed by a liberal legislature and governor, but it wasn’t worth mentioning by Matthews because it didn’t fit the narrative.)

“[Lincoln] was killed because he fought and won a war that saved the Union,” Matthews said on Hardball. “He was killed fighting still for the right of freed American slaves to vote. And now the Republican Party he helped start is out there in a systemic effort to keep the children of those freed slaves from voting.”

These ID laws require people to have either: a driver’s license, a state-issued ID card, or a military ID card. Proponents of these laws insist that they are in place to prevent voter fraud – such as voting multiple times – while critics maintain that the laws exist to suppress the minority vote.

If you do not have an ID to vote, that means you also cannot: open a bank account, apply for a job, file for unemployment (or welfare or Medicaid or food stamps or Social Security), buy a home, drive a car, get married, pick up a prescription, or even pick up a pack of smokes.

h/t: Newsbusters

What do you think? Are voter ID laws racist? Or are they a necessary precaution?

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

If You Believe You Have To Be A Citizen To Vote, You’ll Be Shocked At What This Big City Wants To Do

Images Credit: Wiki Commons/Twitter

It’s often been said, “As California goes, so goes that nation” because the Golden State has led the way in so many societal changes, trends, and fads — from automobile emission laws to the skateboard craze to the sexual revolution.

Now, it seems, that New York City under the leadership of leftist Mayor Bill DeBlasio and an ultra-liberal city council may blaze a trail that many Americans feel could lead the country over a dangerous political cliff.

The Guardian reports that the city council of the Big Apple is drawing up a proposal to give non-citizens the right to vote in local elections.

“Under the likely terms of the legislation, legally documented residents who have lived in New York City for at least six months will be able to vote in municipal elections.”

Advocates of voting rights for residents who don’t have legal status as U.S. citizens say the legislation now in development would mark a major milestone and push the boundaries of voting rights for millions of people who work and pay taxes but don’t get a say in their local elections.

“A few towns already permit non-citizen residents to vote locally, but New York City would be by far the largest jurisdiction to do so.”

The Guardian article points out that in some boroughs of New York City, such as in parts of Queens, non-citizens make up as much as half of the population.

“Supporters of the legislation claim that politicians can overlook the needs of entire communities if non-citizens don’t have voting rights.”

The push for non-citizen voting rights in New York City underscores the “slippery slope” argument raised by many who fear that President Obama’s executive amnesty could permanently change the political power structure in America by providing a way for illegal immigrants to vote.

The Washington Times recently reported on the testimony concerned state officials gave to Congress in mid-February.

“President Obama’s temporary deportation amnesty will make it easier for illegal immigrants to improperly register and vote in elections, state elections officials testified to Congress on Thursday, saying that the driver’s licenses and Social Security numbers they will be granted create a major voting loophole.”

As for the prospects that the New York City non-citizen voting legislation will pass, the Democrat-dominated city council certainly seems to be moving in that direction.

One of only three Republicans on the council has voiced his concern that giving non-citizens voting privileges may propel a wider movement that could do lasting damage to the country.

Said Councilman Erich Ulrich:

“The right to vote is a privilege and a sacred obligation that citizens have enjoyed. It should only be for United States citizens,” he told Newsday.

“It’s also a reason for people who are on a path to citizenship to aspire to citizenship. It’s something for them to look forward to.”

h/t: Downtrend

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Two Philadelphia State Representatives Indicted On Bribery, Other Charges In Voting Against A Voter ID Law

Photo credit: Bev Sykes (Flickr)

Two Democratic Pennsylvania state representatives who serve parts of Philadelphia were indicted on bribery charges Tuesday by the Philadelphia District Attorney after taking money and gifts in exchange for voting against voter identification legislation. The Pennsylvania Attorney General had previously dropped the charges.

State Reps. Ron Waters (D) and Vanessa Lowery Brown (D) were charged Tuesday with Criminal Conspiracy, Bribery in Official and Political Matters, Conflict of Interest, and Failure to Make Required Disclosures in Statement of Financial Interests for accepting money in exchange for promised political actions. Waters also accepted some Tiffany Jewelry.

The Daily Signal notes both “representatives testified before [the] Grand Jury and admitted their criminal conduct.”

“[The grand jury] had 26 recordings featuring Rep. Ronald G. Waters, accepted nine cash payments from a confidential informant totaling $8,750. The grand jury had 24 recordings of Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown accepting five cash payments totaling $4,000.

“Waters agreed to vote against Pennsylvania House Bill 934, a Voter ID bill, in exchange for $2,000. Brown also agreed to vote against House Bill 934 for the same amount.”

Both legislators turned themselves in Tuesday morning and were released on their own recognizance. Waters is the current Secretary for the House Democratic Caucus, and Brown is the current chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus.

The investigation was conducted by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General between 2010 and 2012, but was dropped because Attorney General Kathleen Kane was “troubled” by elements of the case it inherited (including a deal to drop charges against the informant), reported the Post-Gazette. Kane has been in office since 2013. There was also accusations of racism in the ongoing investigation.

But the District Attorney’s Office run by Seth Williams, a Democrat, rejected those allegations:

“The grand jury investigated claims that the original investigation was ‘racist,’ that the CI was not credible because of the alleged magnitude of his own criminal case, that the subjects of the investigation were ‘entrapped,’ and that a ‘comprehensive’ review by subsequent state officials found no basis for bringing charges. The grand jury found each of those criticism empty.”

According to the Post-Gazette, Waters’ Attorney, Fortunato N. Perri, Jr., said his client “will accept responsibility for his conduct and likely resolve this matter without the necessity for trial.”

Other officials were also targeted in the investigation, all Democrats. Louise Williams Bishop and Michelle Brownlee are still being investigated by the grand jury, while former Traffic Court Judge Thomasine Tynes pleaded guilty Wednesday to accepting a $2,000 gift, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer.


H/T The Daily Signal

Photo credit: Bev Sykes (Flickr)

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Democrats Tell Illegal Immigrant She Can Vote In North Carolina


James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas released a new video exposing campaign officials condoning voter fraud in North Carolina.

The video features a woman presenting herself as an illegal immigrant from Brazil who said she has a driver’s license and is registered to vote, even though she is illegal. Several of the officials she encounters are working for law enforcement candidates. When she asks for verification of her ability to vote, they all tell her she can, even after some of them consulted their supervisors.

Last week, The Winston-Salem Journal reported there is a list of 145 people who have been granted President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status in North Carolina and have also appeared on the voter rolls. They note the actual number of illegal voters could be much higher.

The North Carolina State Board of Elections (SBOE) sent letters last week those who had been granted DACA status, asking for additional documentation of citizenship.

Breitbart News reported Wednesday the figure of non-citizens on the voter rolls in North Carolina is as high as 1,400. It is illegal for a non-citizen to vote, even if they have accidentally been placed on the voter rolls, Assisting a non-citizen in voting is also illegal.

North Carolina is home to one of the hottest United States Senate campaigns in the country, where Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis just opened up a five point lead against Democratic incumbent Senator Kay Hagan–48-43 percent–in a poll conducted by Vox Populi between October 26-27, according to Politico. The poll’s margin of error was 3.95 percent.


h/t The Right Scoop

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom