Never bet against a hacker

Posted: October 5, 2010 by datechguy in tech
Tags: , ,

When my youngest was about 3 he had an annoying habit of crawling out his bedroom window and onto the roof.

We tried taping the windows, locking the windows etc. Nothing worked. Finally we had a window company come it. They brought in a window and set it up in the Kitchen, and said it was “full of wonderful safety features that children wouldn’t be able to circumvent.”

We then called Danny into the room and told him to open and get through the window. It took mere seconds for him to open and get through it. At that the salesman said: “Good luck, I can’t sell you anything.” We eventually just nailed his window shut.

I couldn’t help thinking about that when I read this story:

Last week, the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics opened a new Internet-based voting system for a weeklong test period, inviting computer experts from all corners to prod its vulnerabilities in the spirit of “give it your best shot.” Well, the hackers gave it their best shot — and midday Friday, the trial period was suspended, with the board citing “usability issues brought to our attention.”

Challenging hackers to hack a system is asking for it. And with millions of dollars of patronage etc at stake do you really believe that people won’t be trying to hack such systems?

Fortunately there is a ready made solution!

memeorandum thread here

Update: Instalanche Thanks again Glenn, and while you are here check out the my latest examiner article, examine the “we don’t censor art” crowd and although you might have heard about Rep John Tierney’s wife pleading guilty of federal tax evasion, you might want to meet his republican opponent in ma-6 Bill Hudak who deserves your support.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Spyware Lady, Jun Macarambon. Jun Macarambon said: RT @SpywareLady: Never bet against a hacker « Da Techguy's Blog […]

  2. […] Da Techguy points out that this applies to areas other than mere medicines: When my youngest was about 3 he had an annoying habit of crawling out his bedroom window and onto the roof. […]

  3. These tiny little windows that pop-up when you mouse over a link without clicking seem to becoming more prevalent. (I think my grammar is a little twisted.) Is there a good reason for these things? Do some people actually use and/or like them? I hate them.

  4. KenB says:

    So is the kid an engineer now? Sound as though he should be.

  5. TMLutas says:

    These sorts of hackers challenges happen all the time. Failing one is good for you. You get a better idea of what you’re really up against.

  6. tim maguire says:

    “Challenging hackers is asking for it”

    Isn’t that the point? Better to find out now before the system goes live. They did the right thing.

  7. zonker says:

    While I greatly prefer paper ballots, these sort of “hacker challenges” are, as TMLutas stated in the preceding comment, definitely a good idea. It’s very frustrating to be told that electronic ballots are just as secure as paper ballots…meanwhile, there’s no open testing of the system. Someone once told me, “Of course it’s secure…they wouldn’t use electronic voting if it wasn’t safe.” That mindset scares me.

  8. Jim Rat says:

    If that window salesman had a brain, he would have said, “if Danny wants to make some money, bring him down to our showroom on the weekend and let him have some fun.” He would have learnt a lot about his product.

  9. rockhauler says:

    Paper ballots won’t really solve the problem, ‘cuz ya jest hack the count.

  10. Vader says:

    Charles Pergiel,

    Amen, and Amen.

  11. […] Never bet against a hacker When my youngest was about 3 he had an annoying habit of crawling out his bedroom window and onto the roof. We tried […] […]