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back to article Slammer turns Florida election result into worm food

New concerns about the accuracy of electronic voting in Sarasota County, Florida are being raised after a published report documented how the county's main database system came under attack from a virulent worm. The county server was breached on the first day of early voting in the 2006 election, which included a now-disputed …

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The bug made no difference?

What about the people they turned away? Did they get to vote later? ALL of them?

No marks.

I'm sure I don't neeed to tell anyone here how daft it is to have voting machines a) running on Windows and b) connected to the Big Bad Internet...

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And at the same time ...

... US accuses other countries of not being democratic.

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SQL worm attacks still a daily occurance on US network.

My firewall log reports many attacks on port 1433 which is the SQL worm. I report them to the ISPs but they still persist day after day. The main question here is why the firewall did not block the attack, unless of course it had already been subverted yonks ago.

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Anonymous Coward

Lunacy

Surely having a server net-facing with SQL server listening to all and sundry is lunacy?

At the very least you'd expect a VPN between machines and SQL hosts, with SQL listening purely on the virtual adapters. And why aren't they using an intermediary system - needn't be complicated, just something to accept incoming connections from polling systems, parse the results and form SQL queries to execute locally where the SQL server listens purely on localhost?!

Who designs these things?

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Firewall?

The concept of a firewall (something I am very familiar with having designed more than one) is to block, throttle, and allow traffic appropriately. The firewall generally sits between the internet and the computers. Why then would an SQL server be allowed to sit within a DMZ thereby allowing the slammer worm to attack, looks to me that the defense contracts being sold to the lowest bidder is starting to have its problems. Maybe they should stop using microsoft server systems and use something that actually works, doesn't disrupt elections and isn't the fat jaba the hut of a target windows is to virus writers.

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Welcome to the new democracy

I am past resident of Sarasota. In fact, my father graduated from Sarasota High School (SHS) in '51 and I followed some 26 years later.

Sarasota was the home of Pee Wee Herman (SHS alumnus as well, I believe) and is where he was busted for flogging his willy in a porn theatre. SHS has its very own circus that it presents annually due to the large number of circus families residing in Sarasota. John and Mable Ringling are still well known and celebrated in that town where "The Greatest Show on Earth" had exteriors of Main Street in the Circus parade rally scene.

It is also part of the Congressional District for Katherine Harris who is most well known for her role in certifying Florida election results that sealed the Presidency for "Dubya" himself. The election result that is currently under litigation was to replace Harris as she ran for one a Florida's Senate seats instead (and failed miserably).

With such a colourful history, I think it's quite unfair to cast disparagement upon that fine City. I believe that Sarasota has a rich and interesting heritage to preserve and this little chapter will keep it on the top of our minds when we think of clowns and the amusement that they provide. After all, what's one little election compared to free publicity. Just ask Tom Dobbs...

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Anonymous Coward

Microsoft bash?

It was untouched for 5 years! I'm sure many operating systems have security holes that need mending after a little while.

And do not tell me linux is perfect in this case; I just have one word... sendmail.

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Anonymous Coward

Sendmail??

I've got a one word reply to that:

'qmail'

This and several other pieces of software authored by Dan Bernstein, are shining examples of the kind of lightweight, robust and secure software that is more often than not written for *nix machines - which I find sadly lacking on the Windows platform.

Neither Linux nor Unix is perfect, and no-one in their right mind would claim so. This is why hundreds, probably thousands, of independent developers and security experts spend enormous amounts of time poring over Linux kernel and application code looking for the imperfections in an effort to tighten them up. The *nix architecture is such that when it is compromised, the damage/exposure is generally limited and can usually be detected and investigated. Once Windoze is compromised, its all over folks (Unless you're running expensive proprietary security software), and often the owner of the system doesn't notice.

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