Matt Blaze's
Science, Security, Curiosity
E-Voting talk at Penn Thursday 2/14/08
The perfect Valentine's day activity

I'll be giving a talk tomorrow (Thursday 14 February) about the review of electronic voting systems we conducted last fall here at U. Penn. For those in the Philadelphia area, the talk is on the Penn Campus in the Levine Hall Auditorium from 3:00-4:15pm. Sorry for not getting this up on the blog earlier.


Here's the talk announcement:

University of Pennsylvania CIS Colloquium
Title: The Ohio Voting Systems Security Review at Penn
Speaker: Matt Blaze, U. Penn CIS Dept.

Last Fall, Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner commissioned Project EVEREST, a comprehensive security review of the electronic voting technology used in her state. The project contracted several academic teams and others to examine the election procedures, equipment and source code used in that state, with the aim of identifying any problems that might render elections vulnerable to tampering under operational conditions.

The ten-week project examined in detail the touch-screen, optical scan, and election management technology from e-voting vendors ES&S, Hart InterCivic and Premier Election Systems (formerly Diebold). Penn led the analysis of the the ES&S system source code, which is also used by voters in 42 other US states besides Ohio.

This talk will outline the U. Penn team's findings, which included the discovery of exploitable security vulnerabilities in almost every hardware and software component of the ES&S touch-screen and optical scan systems. Some of these flaws could allow a single malicious voter or pollworker to alter countywide election results, possibly without detection.

We will focus on our findings, and will also describe more generally the process of analyzing 700,000 lines of unfamiliar source code in less than ten weeks, under highly constrained conditions.

The full 334 page report (which also includes analysis of the Hart and Premier systems done at Penn State and WebWise Security) can be downloaded (11MB, PDF format) from the Ohio Secretary of State's web site at

This talk describes joint work with Penn graduate students Adam Aviv, Pavol Cerny, Sandy Clark, Eric Cronin, Gaurav Shah, and Micah Sherr.

Thursday, February 14, 2008
3:00 - 4:15
Wu & Chen Auditorium
101 Levine Hall
3330 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104