1122 votes ~ 8 comments
It's also interesting to read the perspective of the folks operating the compromised webapp (details are in the section titled "Digital Vote-By-Mail" on pages 34 to 38).
"We found a pair of webcams on the DVBM network — both publicly accessible without any password — that showed views of the server room that housed the pilot. <...> We used them to gauge whether the network administrators had discovered our attacks — when they did, their body language became noticeably more agitated."
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Despite these problems, one of the strongest logistical aspects of the D.C. trial was that access to the code -- and to some extent, the architecture -- was available to the testers. While some observers have suggested that this gave us an unrealistic advantage while attacking the system, there are several reasons why such transparency makes for a more realistic test. Above and beyond the potential security benefits of open source code (pressure to produce better code, feedback from community, etc.), in practice it is difficult to prevent a motivated attacker from gaining access to source code. The code could have been leaked by the authors through an explicit sale by dishonest insiders, as a result of coercion, or through a compromised developer workstation. Since highly plausible attacks such as these are outside the scope of a research evaluation, it is not only fair but realistic to provide the code to the testers.
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