back to article US voting server in election security probe is mysteriously wiped

A computer at the center of a lawsuit digging into woeful cyber-security practices during the US presidential election has been wiped. The server in question is based in Georgia – a state that narrowly backed Donald Trump, giving him 16 electoral votes – and stored the results from the state's voting systems. The deletion of …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mystery, intrigue, subterfuge, this has everything.

    It's like watching a really good film or TV program where you try to predict the end but know you are going to get it spectacularly wrong.

    I do question whether it is impossible to analyse the data unless someone has done a low level format. Though if that is the case then I must obtain some tin foil for a nice new boater.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Let's look at the last paragraph in the article:

      "As for the information itself, there is one more avenue to recover it: the FBI took a copy of the server's filesystem contents when it opened an investigation into the system back in March. So far the Feds have refused to say whether they still have that copy."

      So, there is a copy available. The info has not been destroyed. And I'd guess there hasn't been time in the current news cycle for anyone to ask the FBI about that copy, so of course they have "refused" to say if they kept a copy, something the FBI is famous for always doing. Basically the FBI is a giant file cabinet and has been since J. Edgar Hoover.

      It's amusing to watch people who hate Trump beyond all reason (and were sure he'd lose anyway) reduced to clawing the thin ice of "possible election server tampering." Meanwhile their own candidate might soon be facing very serious criminal charges, along with Mueller, Comey, and half the Democrats in DC apparently.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        I suspect you're right. And the file cabinet has a rusty combination lock so seeing what's in it is a chore unto itself.

      2. redpawn Silver badge

        @big?_john

        I'm sure you think it is reasonable to delete election data when no physical copy exists. By the way, it is hard to "hate Trump beyond all reason" as he is a self serving liar, corporate criminal and racist lap dog of Putin.

        How can you excuse an apologist for Nazis, a man urging the execution of five innocent black men in New York without apology after proof of their innocence? How can you support a racist unwilling to believe Obama was born in my state when he was born to a US citizen with no incentive to go to Kenya to give birth. All I can say to you is, I hope Trump hires you and stiffs you like like legions of regular upstanding Americans who were dumb enough to sign a contract to work for him.

        El Reg, once again sorry for feeding the little troll.

        1. wallaby

          Re: @big?_john

          Redpawn, only one up vote allowed I'm afraid or you would have a bucket full from me.

          Its weird somebody defending the orange one on here, I always believed the average Trump voter couldn't even put a key in a door lock let alone switch a computer on

          it puts the lotion in the basket....

          1. Old Coot

            Re: @big?_john

            " average Trump voter couldn't even put a key in a door"

            Yes, maybe the average, but averages don't tell the whole story, do they? You also need the deviations and maybe there's even fat tails. As an American, I can tell you that the average American could not find the UK on a blank map (Canada and Mexico, after that it's fuzzy), nor tell you the name of any prime minister except maybe Churchill. Nor would they even be curious; it's really that bad.

            I voted for Trump in hopes of avoiding war with Russia. Why does Western Europe (Lithuanians, Swedes, French, Germans) feel the need to invade Russia every century or so? When did it ever work out well? But here we are again, missiles on the border. Imagine sitting across a table from someone who's pointing a gun at you; how would you feel?

            Everyone talks about how horrible Trump is; why not talk about how wonderful his opponent is? She was the Monsanto candidate, after all (look up the paid-speeches list); do you like the taste of glyphosate?

            Ever been in combat? Imagine carrying a 50-pound pack through the snows of Russia, with snipers and land mines to keep you alert. Or maybe you could stay at home and find out what radiation sickness feels like when the missiles reach your town. Wonder how the IT infrastructure will work with all that extra EM activity

            Even the endless virtue-signaling on technical stories is nausea inducing here. If there's no God and no punishment, there's no good or evil. Don't take my word for it, ask Ivan Karamazov. So your virtue-signals only impress the people who already think like you, that is, your operation is idempotent.

            Everyone else sees only hatred and disdain for those with less cognitive endowment than you and fewer opportunities for develop what they have a beneath you and shouldn't even have the vote, at least not if they're white (or Asian). And thus are we not persuaded, but rather that much more hardened in our convictions. And however disappointed we are with the Golden Golem (and we are, e.g., Syria), at least he's not nuking Russia yet.

            1. InNY

              Re: @big?_john

              "I voted for Trump in hopes of avoiding war with Russia" - but North Korea and/or Iran is a different how?

              "Ever been in combat?" - well, someone we wish we didn't know never has. Something to do with a bone in his leg...

              1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

                Re: @big?_john

                I have this feeling man, 'cause you know, it's just a handful of people who run everything, you know … that's true, it's provable. It's not … I'm not a fucking conspiracy nut, it's provable. A handful, a very small elite, run and own these corporations, which include the mainstream media. I have this feeling that whoever is elected president, like Clinton was, no matter what you promise on the campaign trail – blah, blah, blah – when you win, you go into this smoke-filled room with the twelve industrialist capitalist scum-fucks who got you in there. And you're in this smoky room, and this little film screen comes down … and a big guy with a cigar goes, "Roll the film." And it's a shot of the Kennedy assassination from an angle you've never seen before … that looks suspiciously like it's from the grassy knoll. And then the screen goes up and the lights come up, and they go to the new president, "Any questions?" "Er, just what my agenda is." "First we bomb Baghdad." "You got it …"

                Bill Hicks

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @big?_john

              I voted for Trump in hopes of avoiding war with Russia.

              Then you are truly delusional.

            3. S C

              @OldCoot

              You talk like there were only two options - The Corporate Hawk or the Blowhard.

              There weren't.

              How many people voted for one 'cos the other was beyond the pale?

              One is a professional politician and the corporate candidate, and the other is a businessman with a string of bankruptcies behind him, and and a disgusting human being to boot.

              You could have chosen Sanders - a pro politician himself, but an apparently humane person.

              But no - he's a socialist.

              So let's have the blowhard, who puts on a great show and will 'mix things up' in Washington.

              Good luck with that.

          2. Barracoder

            Re: @big?_john

            @wallaby

            It’s not that you’re smarter than the Trump supporters who read the Register. It’s just that there’s more of you so we tend to keep our heads down.

            It’s really not worth the hassle.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @big?_john

            I always believed the average Trump voter couldn't even put a key in a door lock let alone switch a computer on

            A lot of them do have trouble with computers. That's because they're over 60. They voted for Trump because he ran as the Republican just like good old Saint Ronnie. They don't have a clue that the Republican party platform, let alone the politicians, are not the same as they were 30 years ago.

            Raegan would be considered a moderate today.

            It took me decades to realize that one huge objection I have to "trickle-down economics" is that the theory explicitly states that it promotes income and wealth inequality by deliberately funneling money to those elites who need it the least. Somehow we were able to think that was a good thing back then.

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: @big?_john

              "Somehow we were able to think that was a good thing back then."

              Ronnie's path to power was based on tearing up FDR's social contract and convincing people it was a good thing. As an actor he understood the secret to success is sincerity - as in if you can fake it, the world is your oyster.

              At least (so far), Trump hasn't been using the CIA to fly in hundreds of tons of cocaine, to flood USA cities and create the Crack Epidemic, whilst simultaneously espousing a "war on drugs" (yes, this really happened, it all came out in the criminal trials associated with the Iran-Contra deals) - and one of the good things about him being in power is that all the nazis and racists are coming out of the closet, which makes them easily identifiable for later.

        2. Naselus

          Re: @big?_john

          Footage of Big John at his day job:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NNOrp_83RU

        3. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: @big?_john

          How can you believe that Donald Trump is any worse than any other American political leader since... well, certainly since Teddy Roosevelt, whose racist rhetoric could not be distinguished from that of the Nazis?

          The huge joke is that American citizens go on from decade to decade arguing that the other party are wicked murdering liars. They never notice that their own party is exactly the same. And so they go on from decade to decade, never noticing the man behind the curtain who is orchestrating it all to his own ends. It really is pathetic.

          To my mind, the main reason so many in the US political establishment hate Trump so much is that he has a most indiscreet habit of telling the truth. And that lets the cat out of the bag.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @big?_john

            How can you believe that Donald Trump is any worse than any other American political leader since... well, certainly since Teddy Roosevelt, whose racist rhetoric could not be distinguished from that of the Nazis?

            Easy. He managed o make George W Bush look good, which I originally thought to be impossible. Remember, they gave Obama the Nobel Peace price simply on the strength of him not being George W Bush, it was that bad.

            And Trump makes him look good by comparison.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: @big?_john

            "Trump...has a most indiscreet habit of telling the truth."

            Ummm...really? You don't read his twatters very often then?

            1. Ernie Mercer

              Re: @big?_john

              "indiscreet"?

              That's not how you spell "infrequent."

          3. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

            Re: @big?_john

            "To my mind, the main reason so many in the US political establishment hate Trump so much is that he has a most indiscreet habit of telling the truth."

            LOL! Not about himself and his minions, though! (Apart from his many slip-ups, of course.)

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Pirate

              Re: @big?_john

              "To my mind, the main reason so many in the US political establishment hate Trump so much is that he has a most indiscreet habit of telling the truth."

              LOL! Not about himself and his minions, though! (Apart from his many slip-ups, of course.)

              Given his calling the latest guy to be talking with the feds "a liar", I suspect trump and truth have the same sort of relationship as "two positively charged ions"...

              Very much reminds me of a bully being called into the principle's office, seeing another student there, and immediately accusing the other student of being a liar before even hearing what has been said.

              As I said a while back, chump very much sounds and acts like a common bully. How the republicans let him get through their most basic sanity tests I don't know. How the rest of the country did only points to strong levels of insanity amongst the voting public (whether the Dem's made them that way is a discussion for others to have on another day :) )

              (pirate icon coz lots of bullying thugs involved there - and that's just the RIAA/MPAA...)

        4. batfink
          Devil

          Re: @big?_john

          @redpawn - you obviously haven't been here long - welcome! Big John is our resident bogeyman, here to make sure we don't become an echo chamber. Most of us (including me) disagree with his views but at least he generally makes reasoned arguments (although tbf not really in the above case), and rightly forces us to prove him wrong by supported and referenced arguments.

          Personally I'm happy to have at least one dissenting voice in the forum.

          Damn - defending the opposition's right to speech. I must really be a looney leftie.

          This'll be an interesting study in the up- vs down-votes...

        5. Someone Else Silver badge

          @redpawn -- Re: @big?_john

          I'm sure you think it is reasonable to delete election data when no physical copy exists.

          Only when his guy wins. When the Other Guy wins, John's all for keeping the records <ad infinitun</i>, and opening at least 8 serial "investigations" as to how it was the election records disappeared.

      3. EL Vark
        Coat

        "So far the Feds have refused to say whether they still have that copy."

        "So, there is a copy available."

        So, maybe there is, and maybe there ain't. True, state agencies are bullish on document retetention, as well as coy to flirtatious with possible information. How these things result in a fractious partisan jab is perhaps more telling of oneself than those one seeks to disfavour. Still, Jayzus.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          It will be simple to know if this is a coverup

          If after allowing a few days or even generously a few weeks if the FBI can't confirm that they still have their copy of the data and they will make it available if it required by the lawsuits (and the lawsuits aren't summarily dismissed via the technicality of the server having been wiped) then this is either a coincidence of poor timing, or at worst a coverup that failed.

          If the FBI has mysteriously lost or deleted their copy, or refuses to respond, or the court cases get dismissed because the server is no longer intact even though the FBI has a copy, then it looks mighty suspicious that a coverup is involved. Big John will deny that, because he lives in a world of alternative facts where the only evil and corrupt politicians are democrats, and all republicans are pure as the driven snow.

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: It will be simple to know if this is a coverup

            It's certainly a cover-up. But probably just by local people covering their arses. It doesn't need "Russian agents" to have hacked it. By the sounds of it any person in the vicinity could have hacked with it a pringle's can (as in the case of the voting "machine" that was hacked in Brazil). Interfering with the election would be a federal crime of a pretty high order - years in prison. By far the most likely scenario to me is that it was a crappy, insecure system. It might have been hacked, it might not. Somebody in the chain of responsibility for this panicked and wiped the whole thing. I mean if Hillary can "accidentally" delete 30,000 emails and claim they were about yoga, I don't see why somebody in lower government wouldn't try the same approach.

            Electronic voting is a bad idea. Electronic voting without a paper trail, is a terrible one.

        2. Am I Paranoid Enough?

          El Vark wrote:

          "So far the Feds have refused to say whether they still have that copy."

          "So, there is a copy available."

          So, maybe there is, and maybe there ain't. True, state agencies are bullish on document retetention, as well as coy to flirtatious with possible information. How these things result in a fractious partisan jab is perhaps more telling of oneself than those one seeks to disfavour. Still, Jayzus.

          Now what I would like to know is... do we have a version of Schroedinger's Cat thingy for this sort of Legal/IT conundrum?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @big john

        That was my point. If there is one more avenue which is the copy then the original is of no use indicating a low level format which itself leads to some uncomfortable questions. An accidental wipe while unusual is not unheard of however a low level format shows an intent to hide information.

        I'm unsure how you got to "Trump Hate" when I was just questioning the facts but then again thinking about that whenever someone questions the "facts" it's fake news.

        1. wallaby

          To quote Mark Twain

          "Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please"

        2. tfb Silver badge

          Well, if the machine has been reused then something else has likely been scribbling all over the disk since it was formatted. So plenty of the data is likely irretrievably lost now.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's amusing to watch people who hate Trump beyond all reason (and were sure he'd lose anyway) reduced to clawing the thin ice of "possible election server tampering." Meanwhile their own candidate might soon be facing very serious criminal charges, along with Mueller, Comey, and half the Democrats in DC apparently.

        @BJ, that's an example of the thinking that has finally convinced me that the wall is a good idea, but more to keep people in, not out. I'm positive Europe and the rest of the actually developed world will spring for a roof.

        The banking sector has been freed again of its obligation to be honest with its customers, which is in itself a major argument to start reducing a dependency of anything financial in the hands of the US (subprime II, coming to you soon), the EPA has been neutered so everything you grow is soon likely to be polluted (not that it could be harvested anyway as all the cheap workers have gone) and soon, the only form of collaboration left is threats as the US slowly turns into a Kremlin annex. That said, I must admit that your approach to population control is creative. First you remove abortions under the excuse "right to live", and then you hand guns to everyone because the full sentence ends with ".. but not that long".

        No wonder the smart ones are emigrating, Putin has won.

        1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          @BJ, that's an example of the thinking that has finally convinced me that the wall is a good idea, but more to keep people in, not out. I'm positive Europe and the rest of the actually developed world will spring for a roof.

          You only need to wall/roof in a handful of cities. Washington DC, NYC, Seattle (unfortunately), San Francisco (again, unfortunately) and the posh sections of Los Angeles should be sufficient. You might even get the rest of NY State to pitch in on walling-off NYC.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          "I'm positive Europe and the rest of the actually developed world will spring for a roof."

          No, we'll just caulk any holes and fill it up with water.

        3. Kiwi Silver badge
          Trollface

          I'm positive Europe and the rest of the actually developed world will spring for a roof.

          I'll put in some donations towards a tap!

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Big_John

        Do you think people now down vote you as soon as they see your name?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Do you think people now down vote you as soon as they see your name?

          I still remain focused on the merit of argument. Although that is mostly absent (as in this case), he has occasionally managed to contribute something. That said, when I *do* downvote the usual drivel, I even use my middle finger :).

      7. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
        Trollface

        @BigJohn

        It's amusing to watch people who hate Trump beyond all reason

        BUT HIS BIRTH CERTIFICATE!!!!!

      8. Blank Reg

        Given that the reasons for hating that incompetent buffoon are nearly infinite, and growing daily, it's impossible to hate him beyond all reason.

      9. Archtech Silver badge

        Logic fail

        Er,

        "So far the Feds have refused to say whether they still have that copy"

        does not mean

        "So, there is a copy available".

      10. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >Meanwhile their own candidate ...

        Mate, I didn't have a horse (or a donkey or an elephant) in that race and I suspect the same goes for a lot of people here.

        Your current president appears to be a complete bell end but as long as he stops short of nuclear level idiocy he's just another episode in the septic political comedy-drama.

      11. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "So, there is a copy available."

        But us it legally admissible if required? Probably not, since it's a copy and may have been tampered with and can no longer be compared to the original. The chain of evidence is broken. And anyway, this is only incidentally about Trump. Primarily it's about an ancient server with ancient software and whether it was up to the job, not to mention the loss of data with the legal requirement it be retained.

      12. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        "It's amusing to watch people who hate Trump beyond all reason"

        I'm not sure even what that means? Can he be hated too much?

        1. h4rm0ny
          Big Brother

          >>I'm not sure even what that means? Can he be hated too much?

          Oh, not at all. In fact, we recommend that you get together with like-minded people for a short period, perhaps two minutes, to get your hate done in one nice go.

      13. Kiwi Silver badge

        Meanwhile their own candidate might soon be facing very serious criminal charges, along with Mueller, Comey, and half the Democrats in DC apparently.

        Strange. The news over this side of the pond is that yet another senior person among CMIC's friends is up on serious charges, maybe more than one. Possibly even chump itself. (LOCK HIM UP! LOCK HIM UP! - so funny if that is coming! :) )

        How many democrats have got in the shit? How many retardlians? Don't forget Comey was actually very much a chump supporter at one point, being trumped as the man who would trump Clinton, by Trump himself no less. But now, in the revisionist history of the refudlians, Comey actually always was on the democrat sides and a supporter of hillarity?

        Sad thing is, a significant number of retard supports simply are too dumb to remember who was on what side just a few months ago.

        And no, I don't hate without reason. A few seconds of reading CMIC's twatter feed, or looking at how he talks about women, any number of things out of its own mouth gives plenty of reason for hate. That's why drumpf has such low approval ratings, everyone hates it, even a huge number of those who voted for the vile scum!

    2. EL Vark
      Flame

      Jayzus, Padre. Jayzus.

    3. Matthew 17

      Won't have been formatted

      Rather the drives fed through a degausser/shredder

    4. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      "Low level format"

      Also know to most techies as simply "format". There is no such thing as "high-level format". There is formatting, and there is deletion of the partition table. Microsoft's "quick format" is therefore not formatting anything. "low-level" format here would not be (more) indicative of deliberate mischief.

      In any case on a machine that age, the most cost-effective wipe would surely involve physical destruction !

      1. Lennart Sorensen

        Re: "Low level format"

        Actually there is, and you haven't been able to do one for about 25 years now. It is not something done on modern drives, but used to be required on old drives a long time ago.

        1. Muscleguy Silver badge

          Re: "Low level format"

          A proper 'write 0's' treatment of a disc is what plod calls 'sophisticated technical knowledge' when it is on the list of possible formats for a disk, click on the list, see, its there. Real sophisticated. You don't even have to read manual.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: "Low level format"

          "It is not something done on modern drives"

          Let me introduce you to the concept of "ATA secure erase"

          it goes like this:

          # hdparm --user-master u --security-set-pass Eins /dev/sdg

          security_password: "Eins"

          /dev/sdg:

          Issuing SECURITY_SET_PASS command, password="Eins", user=user, mode=high

          # time hdparm --user-master u --security-erase Eins /dev/sdg

          security_password: "Eins"

          /dev/sdg:

          Issuing SECURITY_ERASE command, password="Eins", user=user

          (some time later.....)

          Done

          This even scrubs the spare sectors

          1. tfb Silver badge

            Re: "Low level format"

            That's not what a low-level format was. Low-level formatting was fiddling with the way the data sat on the disk in a, well, low-level way: telling the thing how big blocks were and where sectors sat. It was something you used to need to do, but pretty much never do now (and I suspect *can't* do since it's all hidden away in the disk controller now).

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: "Low level format"

        "Also know to most techies as simply "format". There is no such thing as "high-level format". There is formatting, and there is deletion of the partition table. Microsoft's "quick format" is therefore not formatting anything. "low-level" format here would not be (more) indicative of deliberate mischief."

        There used to be. A low-level format actually re-wrote all the sector information, including setting the interleave value to optimise the drive for the PC and marking the known bad sectors, and a high-level format (or, as you correctly say, a "format"), wrote the file system. Once IDE came along, low level format commands either did nothing or just reinitialised the partition tables.

        low level format:

        debug

        g=c800:0007

        Then do fdisk to write the partition tables

        Then format the file system,

      3. Joe User
        FAIL

        Re: "Low level format"

        @ElReg!comments!Pierre: Also know to most techies as simply "format". There is no such thing as "high-level format". There is formatting, and there is deletion of the partition table. Microsoft's "quick format" is therefore not formatting anything. "low-level" format here would not be (more) indicative of deliberate mischief.

        You don't know what you're talking about. Perhaps you should try using that new-fangled thing called Google:

        Low-level format (LLF) -- https://www.webopedia.com/TERM/L/LLF.html

        High-level format (HLF) -- https://www.webopedia.com/TERM/H/HLF.html

    5. Mpeler
      Big Brother

      Bleach Bit-h

      HildeBEAST was seen walking away, cackling, dressed as a washerwoman with one shoe, saying, "I wiped it, like, with a cloth"......

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quick look over there...

    JFK.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Quick look over there...

      Unfortunately they failed on that, because they released less than 1% of the previously unreleased documents. Trump sure made a lot of hype for a big nothing.

      Now the new deadline (which violates the law which made no allowance for further delay) is April 2018. No doubt that will come and go without anything being released, and the FBI and CIA can continue to cover up whatever it is they're hiding based on false national security grounds. The only national security at play is the FBI and CIA looking bad at best, more likely looking corrupt, and possibly looking even worse if the the conspiracy theories about J. Edgar Hoover or rogue CIA agents being involved in his death are actually true.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Quick look over there...

        Trump sure made a lot of hype for a big nothing.

        I suspect that Sarah Huckerthing would call that "The President is being consistent" if you challenged her on it.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Quick look over there...

        "the conspiracy theories"

        The thing about conspiracies is that they almost always get started AFTER the event that supposedly there was a conspiracy to cause.

        The reason for that is simply that a lot of people screwed up to allow that event to happen and covering things up is in their interests because it avoids them losing their jobs.

  3. Someone Else Silver badge

    In the immortal words of John Boehner:

    With regards to the following:

    But emails released this week following a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that technicians at the election center deleted the server's data on July 7 – just days after the lawsuit was filed.

    "What I want to know is, who's going to jail?

    1. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: In the immortal words of John Boehner:

      They'll need Someone Else to blame.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: In the immortal words of John Boehner:

      Article: "technicians at the election center deleted the server's data on July 7 – just days after the lawsuit was filed."

      "What I want to know is, who's going to jail?

      it was OK when Mrs. Clinton did it, right? So nobody.

      1. James O'Shea Silver badge

        Re: In the immortal words of John Boehner:

        bob, m'man... exactly when did Hil delete voting records from a government server after an investigation was started? Please be specific. if you can't do that, then when did Hil delete voting records from a government server, period? How about when did Hil delete voting records from _anyones's_ server? If you're on about Hil deleting emails from a private server... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_White_House_email_controversy so Hil will be going to jail some time after Boy George does, or sometime around the 12th of never. But do carry on.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: In the immortal words of John Boehner:

          "What I want to know is, who's going to jail?

          Probably some low level tech who doesn't have that piece of paper with "Get out of Jail Free" written on it and signed by 3 election officials.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Re: In the immortal words of John Boehner:

            No one, of course. They'll blame it on a clerical error, and say they wiped the wrong server. And the wrong server's backups. Oops!

      2. wallaby

        Re: In the immortal words of John Boehner:

        "it was OK when Mrs. Clinton did it, right? So nobody"

        Bob, Bob, Bob

        there's a glass of water by your bed, take the tablet, lay back and listen to the whale song tape - all will be well

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Adam 1 Silver badge

    WTF

    > No hard copies of the votes are kept, making the electronic copy the only official record.

    If we're ever stupid enough to go to e-voting, then I hope that the mandarins running the show aren't *THAT* stupid.

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: WTF

      They aren't THAT stupid. But they may be THAT cunning.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You can get it back

    Unless they used military grade data removal, the FBI can get it back.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: You can get it back

      Fuck the FBI, they aren't trustworthy.

      There is no such thing as "military grade" in this context.

      THAT said, unless they used thermite, DriveSavers can get it back.

      1. ST Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: You can get it back

        > THAT said, unless they used thermite, DriveSavers can get it back.

        Unless "they" used BleachBit followed by a low-level reformat of the hard drive(s).

        Sorry, I should have said случайно удалили.

        Yes, I assume this was a Windows box.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: You can get it back

          DriveSavers wouldn't even be slowed down by BleachBit or a so-called "low level format". I know. I've used them on and off for years when called in after (ex-)employees try to get cute.

          It's actually quite lucrative ... I get paid to tell them who to pay to get their data back, and then I get paid again when I sell them an effective backup solution.

          1. ST Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: You can get it back

            > DriveSavers wouldn't even be slowed down by BleachBit or a so-called "low level format".

            I don't see how that's possible, given that a low-level format erases the disk geometry and then writes 0 on every single magnetic bit on the platter. The write is unbuffered. This eliminates the possibility that some bits might retain a value of 1, and might yield some recoverable fragments of information.

            Which is why a low-level format takes many hours to complete. After this operation is completed, the drive geometry must be re-created.

            Without drive geometry, and with all bits set to 0, there's nothing to recover.

            Seagate has a tool named SeaTools which does just that. This is what I am referring to. I am not talking about bullshit low-level formatting options from BIOS or EFI., which is what most Windows admins know about.

            I don't see DriverSavers claiming that they can recover contents from a hard drive after a low-level format.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: You can get it back

              "I don't see how that's possible

              Suffice to say that modern "low level format" tools don't do what you think they do. There is absolutely zero provision in a modern drive controller for that kind of low level manipulation. In fact, most (all?) drives are factory low-level formatted BEFORE they are assembled into the actual drive. DriveSavers takes them apart in a cleanroom and eyeballs the molecular structure of the disk directly, using proprietary tools.

              1. ST Silver badge
                FAIL

                Re: You can get it back

                > Suffice to say that modern "low level format" tools don't do what you think they do.

                Now is the time for you to STFU and cut the bullshit with the examination of the molecular structure using proprietary tools. Direct quote from your blurb.

                If you think these words make you sound knowledgeable, I have news for you. They don't.

                You're using ElReg to push free advertising for DriveSavers, and you're getting paid for doing so. You admitted as much yourself. This is tasteless and tacky.

                If DriveSavers wants to advertise for their business, they should buy advertising from an ad broker, and pay for it.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: You can get it back

                  Excuse me? I have never, do not now, and likely never will receive any form of compensation from DriveSavers. Nor have I ever suggested otherwise. I *have*, however, received compensation from my clients for suggesting DriveSavers as a company which can recover their lost data.

                  The machine in question uses a variation of spin polarized scanning tunneling microscopy (if I remember the name properly) to read "echos" of over-written bits directly from a platter. It even works on bent and/or broken platters, although obviously a complete recovery is impossible in that scenario. It's not cheap, nor quick, but it works.

                  I have seen what DriveSavers can do with my own eyes, and am only reporting what I have seen. I'm sorry if that report deviates from your world view. I am not advertising for them, I am merely offering a sample-of-one testimonial. Believe what you like, it's your data.

                2. WolfFan Silver badge

                  Re: You can get it back

                  @ST...

                  He's right. I've seen the results of Drive Savers (and a few, a very few, of their competitors) when handed piles of twisted wreckage which once were hard drives. In each case Drive Savers was able to recover at least some of the data, no matter how mangled the drive was. Sorry if this offends you, but about the only way to defeat them is to shred the drive, and even then you'd better dump the pieces in different places 'cause if they get hold of enough pieces they can still get data.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: You can get it back

                    the only way to defeat them is to shred the drive, and even then you'd better dump the pieces in different places 'cause if they get hold of enough pieces they can still get data.

                    .. which was the second argument we have against getting our own shredder. The lorry mounted version mixes the pieces with everything else shredded that day, and we're now talking to the company if they can somehow guarantee we get visited in the middle of their day so our stuff is buried in between others..

                    1. Kiwi Silver badge
                      WTF?

                      Re: You can get it back

                      the only way to defeat them is to shred the drive, and even then you'd better dump the pieces in different places 'cause if they get hold of enough pieces they can still get data.

                      .. which was the second argument we have against getting our own shredder.

                      Someone's got an overactive paranoia mode in their imagination.

                      So the shredder rips each platter into what, would 10,000 bits be reasonable? For a 2 platter drive there's 20,000 bits. Being a mechanical shredding process, there is also going to be some "dust" that once was part of the platters, but is not really part of the 10,000 bits per platter.

                      To reassemble the data on the drive they need to rebuild the platters. To do that they have to get every bit (physical chunk) into the right place, and the right way up. But where bits cracked and dust flaked off, there will be more bits that are lost. Finding and reassembling dust particles is impossible.

                      Another issue is the mechanism of the shredder, the very strong magnets in the drive, and the movement of bits of the platters as they separate from each other - all of these would also create magnetic fields within the fragments that could flip bits.

                      So even if they could get all the bits together, separated out from platter/drive electronics/case/etc, there's little chance anyone would have the resources to rebuild the platters.

                      And even if the platters could be rebuilt, there is 0 chance of actually getting the data off it.

                      A 3-pass secure wipe is plenty, but if you do wish to shred, don't worry about someone getting your drive's individual particles and re-assembling them. That level of technology will never exist.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: You can get it back

                        A 3-pass secure wipe is plenty, but if you do wish to shred, don't worry about someone getting your drive's individual particles and re-assembling them. That level of technology will never exist.

                        Don't worry - we were just checking just how much we could get away with :). Personally I don't see anyone recover much after a 1 pass mechanical shredding of a drive, although I would be interested to see what a drive cross shredder would look like, just for the sheer mechanics.

                        1. Kiwi Silver badge
                          Pint

                          Re: You can get it back

                          Don't worry - we were just checking just how much we could get away with :).

                          But I read it on teh interwebs so it must be true!

                          Like with the NCIS clip (and other such rubbish), there are people who believe that stuff is possible. Sadly, even here at El Reg :(

                  2. PNGuinn
                    Flame

                    Re: You can get it back

                    I should have thought that thermal methods would be effective - cook the platters up to a high enough temperature in a furnace?

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: You can get it back

                      I should have thought that thermal methods would be effective

                      You could apply thermite to everything you want to destroy, but it has to remain economically viable. When we looked at maybe getting our own shredder, the first question was immediately if we wanted to enter that business, because most of the time the thing would stand idle.

                      Mechanical destruction is relatively simple in construction and maintenance and has little byproducts other than the actual electronics fragments, for which there is already an environmentally sound process to handle it. Poking a fire under something on an industrial scale gets you into a whole new ballgame with respect to environmental protection.

            2. Adam 1 Silver badge

              Re: You can get it back

              > I don't see how that's possible, given that a low-level format erases the disk geometry and then writes 0 on every single magnetic bit on the platter.

              We should first discuss what storage medium this is, because a HDD is very different to a SSD. Let's first consider HDD. They encode bits of information on a (bunch of) circular platters divided up into tracks and sectors. Due to the dark science of geometry, we know that these cannot be adjacent perfect circles. It isn't exactly 1 atom per bit. Atoms are so small [citation needed], it is closer to 100000 atoms for each bit stored on a typical drive. That sounds like a lot, but remember that disk is spinning somewhere between 75 and 200 times per second and the head is "floating" a handful of nanometres off the surface. That is two orders of magnitude smaller than visible light wavelengths. The fact that these devices work at all is a testament to some pretty incredible engineering. My point is that the magnetic field gets converted to a current by the read write head. If there's more than X amps (milli or micro, can't remember which) then it is considered a 1. If less than Y, it is considered to be a 0. You can tell the difference between overwriting a 0 with another 0 vs overwriting a 1 with 0 (at the magnetic field level), and this can be (ab)used by data recovery specialists to get a good idea of what was there before the most recent write.

              That is why secure erasure schemes have multiple passes with a mixture of specially selected patterns and random writes. It is also why I suggested that an encrypted drive may be even better. It course the devil is in the detail, but assuming the encryption implementation is good, we can be comforted that the data is effectively random without that key. It doesn't matter if they can reconstruct the encrypted blocks because without the key, they cannot concert it to your data. By securely erasing the volume derivation blocks that convert your password to the volume key (which is maybe only a few KB in size), there is simply no way to the data, even knowing your password (that is why these tools have a volume header backup facility).

              With SSD, there is an interesting new dimension in wear leveling. I'm not 100% on whether you can infer a poorly value from an SSD cell but there is the problem where overwriting doesn't because the wear leveling algorithm decides to redirect the write somewhere different can mean that the original data is still there if you know where to look.

              > The write is unbuffered. This eliminates the possibility that some bits might retain a value of 1, and might yield some recoverable fragments of information.

              That is not the purpose of the write buffer. The write buffer is just a piece of memory (sometimes battery backed memory on servers) where writes can queue up if the disk is busy at that moment in time. Most of the slowness of HDD is in seek time, which is about moving the head to the right spot then waiting for the platter to spin to the right spot. If you can write things as you pass over that track and sector or if you write things in nearby places in sequence, your performance will improve. But either way, unless you rip out the power cord, the os will ask the HDD controller to flush it's cache frequently and definitely before dismounting.

              1. DropBear Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: You can get it back

                "I'm not 100% on whether you can infer a poorly value from an SSD cell but there is the problem where overwriting doesn't because the wear leveling algorithm decides to redirect the write somewhere different can mean that the original data is still there if you know where to look."

                That's why you don't "wipe files" on an SSD - rather you delete whatever you want then fill up the drive fully. You can't level anything anywhere* when there's simply no space left unused on the drive.

                * Okay, that was the simplified version - there should be spare blocks to replace worn-out ones on any SSD, and you might just end up with some data being left in a block permanently swapped-out and replaced by one of these if you're unlucky enough. Unless of course you used some sort of manufacturer-provided wipe tool that promises to leave no block untouched or something. That said, you can avoid the whole headache by using encrypted storage in the first place where you can just wipe the keys - but if it's a software-only thing, that special block itself may have a copy left in a wear-levelled block somewhere (and if it's baked into the SSD you have to trust the firmware to actually erase those keys irrecoverably when it says it did) so we're kinda back to square one...

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: You can get it back

                  > That's why you don't "wipe files" on an SSD - rather you delete whatever you want then fill up the drive fully. You can't level anything anywhere* when there's simply no space left unused on the drive.

                  ATA Secure Erase command?

                2. h4rm0ny

                  Re: You can get it back

                  What *I* do to erase an SSD is delete the encryption keys. Does others do differently?

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: You can get it back

                There's also the fun part of spinning rust drives marking sectors as bad - those are generally never touched again, even for a full wipe.

                I have been wondering what would happen if you could write a trojan that would somehow manage to convince the drive firmware to mark most of the used space as bad - it would look like a suddenly wiped drive to the average user, but by resetting the bad sector register you could then recover all the previous content.

                That said, I prefer physical destruction :)

                1. Surreal
                  Boffin

                  Re: You can get it back

                  Given the machine's age, that should be trivial. _The Peter Norton Programmer's Guide to the IBM PC_,Jun 1985, would have you write The Magic Byte* to appropriate areas of the File Allocation Table(s) (FAT. Both of them) to mark a bad sector. Use debug.com, or Norton's diskedit.exe

                  * Can't recall the value. It looks like an upside-down 'e' in the ASCII chart. Use the Alt key and the numeric keypad. It must be nap time by now. Where's my nurse?

              3. ST Silver badge

                Re: You can get it back

                > The write buffer is just a piece of memory

                Please stop pontificating stuff you found in Wikipedia.

                I worked on HDD kernel drivers (SCSI, yes a while ago) in one of my early professional life jobs.

                What I mean by "unbuffered" is not what you think I mean by unbuffered.

            3. An nonymous Cowerd

              Re: You can get it back

              @ST - check out magnetic remnance imaging of hard disks, the laid down patterns of 1's & 0's apply to a (relatively) sizeable track on the HDD, not yet to single monopole elements

              residual grain polarisation - even after $proprietry_solution - of the 3dimensional magnetic permeability of a permalloy layer is extant. True, if the energy barrier becomes comparable to the thermal energy kBT, [where kB is the Boltzmann constant and T is the absolute temperature], the magnetic moment of the data grains in the 'pixel-volume' can reverse spontaneously under thermal activation. This implies that data retention time in a recording medium is always finite and it is just a matter of how long before your data are thermally erased.

              However if your data grains have not yet been thermally erased, then $TLA with enough $$$ & time can recover anything off of a rusty rotary.

              1. ST Silver badge

                Re: You can get it back

                > check out magnetic remnance imaging of hard disks

                It exists in theory.

                Not available commercially because the costs are prohibitive. Also not proven that it is better at recovering meaningful information in real life after a secure erase, compared to the less expensive recovery options.

                There is too much mythology being sold around regarding the secure erasing of HDD's (spinning rust). For example, there's no need for 38 write-zero passes. Even 3 passes are overkill. A write-zero pass followed by a write-random pass are more than sufficient.

                If HDD's were so unreliable at writing 0's during a write-zero pass, how do they handle the reliable writing and storage of real data in the first place?

                1. Kiwi Silver badge
                  Thumb Up

                  Re: You can get it back

                  If HDD's were so unreliable at writing 0's during a write-zero pass, how do they handle the reliable writing and storage of real data in the first place?

                  Oh for a thousand upvotes!

                  Though bringing logic to an argument on El Reg, might not be up that gets voted 1000 times! :)

                  (Once a bit has been flipped, then again, then again, then again, how can all this mythological stuff they talk about tell you, with any reasonable level of meaning, what that bit was supposed to be prior to the drive being wiped? Was it a 1, or was it a 0 but a 1 previously? Has always done my head in how people actually believe some of this stuff! To much watching NCIS and other crap!)

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: You can get it back

                However if your data grains have not yet been thermally erased, then $TLA with enough $$$ & time can recover anything something off of a rusty rotary.

                FIFY. Let's be realistic here, it's not as perfect as in the movies. Not by a long shot. Plus, let me recalibrate your paranoia. It has to be worth the costs - this will only ever be done if you are assumed to have something important because such a recovery is extremely costly in terms of resources and manpower. I know the general assumption that tax money is wasted is not far off, but someone has to justify costs in the end (which is why you have so many "potential terrorists")..

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: You can get it back

            DriveSavers wouldn't even be slowed down by BleachBit or a so-called "low level format". I know. I've used them on and off for years when called in after (ex-)employees try to get cute.

            Maybe you shouldn't try to state something you read in a marketing document as actual knowledge. The best anyone would get back would be residuals and partials, and that at *great* costs because you are well beyond reading the platters while they're still in the drive mechanism.

            That said, it's never been a problem for us. Our security needs are such that we mandate full drive crypto for a start (which includes travelling backup disks for people with laptops), and server disk disposal involves a witnessed physical shredding of the drive (which is actually quite fun to watch). There is a discussion about getting our own drive shredder, but I reckon that'll take a while because that also requires disposing of the remains which is still to be investigated..

          3. Kiwi Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: You can get it back

            DriveSavers wouldn't even be slowed down by BleachBit or a so-called "low level format". I know. I've used them on and off for years when called in after (ex-)employees try to get cute.

            Funny, when I was doing DR stuff even the best tools out there could not get anything back after basic wiping, and bleachbit was a bit beyond basic wiping.

            Now, wiping only the current copy of the file is another matter. Software (esp eg word processors autosaving every 5 mins) can make lots of "old" versions of files, so unless you do a wipe of the free space (including something that hits "slack space" if your file system is so inclined (actually I can't recall if any don't have that). Same with big drives with lots of empty space where a defrag has been run, leaving remnants of files in the formerly used space.

            But one pass with basically any overwriting tool (that includes free space) does enough damage to wipe data on most drives, and I'd be worried about any drive which did let someone pick something up.

      2. Mr Sceptical
        Joke

        Re: You can get it back

        Clearly, the BOFH or PFY weren't involved as the hardware is still intact, but someone HAS tried to copy their style. Simon should sue for breach of copyright!

        If the BOFH did this, the server would be a pile of slag after an 'uncontrolled thermal event' and all that remained of the staff involved would be a smell of quicklime and some unexplained mounts of freshly dug earth...

    2. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: You can get it back

      Maybe. But if I was inventing a storage system to hold confidential data, it would be encrypted. If it's encrypted then you only have to do the 35 pass wipe on thev key derivation header blocks to effectively wipe the drive.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: You can get it back

        If it's encrypted then you only have to do the 35 pass wipe on thev key derivation header blocks to effectively wipe the drive.

        With modern drives, the heads don't wobble like they used to. One pass should suffice, 3 is enough to absolutely make the data unrecoverable.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You can get it back

      > "...the FBI can get it back."

      Um, the FBI took a copy of that server well before it was wiped. Didn't you read the article?

      In fact, since an image of that server still exists in the hands of the FBI, then the fact that this old, possibly compromised server was wiped signifies little. Unless of course we are now back to normal and completely distrusting the FBI, after their brief, clean-as-a-whistle Obama years. ;-/

    4. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: You can get it back

      "Unless they used military grade data removal, the FBI can get it back."

      Ah yes, someone's bringing up the the voodoo thoughts about hard drive erasure based on Peter Gutmann's tests back in the 1990s - which were performed on 10MB stepper motor MFM drives with relatively coarse track spacing and the imprecision that steppers have, vs multihundred GB drives fitted with voice coil actuators utilising servo tracking systems and _much_ more advanced error correction techniques.

      Perhaps you need to read this (his paper and an epilogue): https://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/secure_del.html

      To save you the effort, here's the important bit:

      " Looking at this from the other point of view, with the ever-increasing data density on disk platters and a corresponding reduction in feature size and use of exotic techniques to record data on the medium, it's unlikely that anything can be recovered from any recent drive except perhaps a single level via basic error-cancelling techniques. In particular the drives in use at the time that this paper was originally written are long since extinct, so the methods that applied specifically to the older, lower-density technology don't apply any more. Conversely, with modern high-density drives, even if you've got 10KB of sensitive data on a drive and can't erase it with 100% certainty, the chances of an adversary being able to find the erased traces of that 10KB in 200GB of other erased traces are close to zero.

      Another point that a number of readers seem to have missed is that this paper doesn't present a data-recovery solution but a data-deletion solution. In other words it points out in its problem statement that there is a potential risk, and then the body of the paper explores the means of mitigating that risk."

    5. Kiwi Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: You can get it back

      Unless they used military grade data removal, the FBI can get it back.

      Actually.. No.

      Once the drive has been overwritten it is over period.

      Now, if only some of the drive has been overwritten there is a good chance some of the data is salvageable, maybe even all of it (depending on what was overwritten, if there was more than one copy of the files etc etc).

      If the drive was just formatted, then there are many tools that can easily restore the data. Same for deleting the partition table (and even creating new partitions of a different size and using a different table type).

  7. alain williams Silver badge

    Get it back: easy - peasy ...

    Load the backups.

    Oh, what do you mean that they were wiped as well or they did not back the machine up ?

    .

    .

    What is that nasty smell in the corner ?

  8. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    avalanche of poorly executed cya.

    But then we not talking about folks with extensive enterprise IT experience with tons of security skills. Right folks? I mean, these guys don't work for IBM or Equifax right?

    Oh. I seeeeeee.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you could get remote Admin/root...

    .. any wannabe script kiddie on the internet could have twatted this server

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: If you could get remote Admin/root...

      Even when it's UNPLUGGED?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If you could get remote Admin/root...

        Especially when it's "UNPLUGGED"

        Point to fact, I have a server that's been unplugged for about 8 years. I plugged it in the other day and nothing, it won't even post. Clearly it's been hacked by some script kiddie and disabled while I was out at the shops.

  10. Mephistro Silver badge
    WTF?

    What I find difficult to believe is...

    ... that the plaintiffs' lawyers didn't subpoenaed the shit out of the State of Georgia regarding that particular server and the backups.

    They should have called Saul instead!

    8^)

    1. sal II

      Re: They should have called Saul instead!

      They tried but it was conflict of interests as the election officials had already hired him...

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: They should have called Saul instead!

        I thought he worked for the CIA?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is This Related?

    "The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general has completed a report indicating there was no malicious intent last year when Secretary of State Brian Kemp alleged the federal agency may have tried to hack into the Georgia’s voter registration system."

    For those outside of the US, perhaps you are not aware that "dossier" used to push the Trump/Russia collusion story was apparently ordered by and paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC. In other words, another political hit job pushed to tame reporters, much like the "Obama is a secret muslim" story that Clinton pushed out to them in her previous campaign.

  12. Gravis Ultrasound

    The Reg mysteriously wiped clean for any mentions of the Anwar brothers...

    sleazy as hell IT story, but wrong party..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Reg mysteriously wiped clean for any mentions of the Anwar brothers...

      Yes, odd that I don't recall seeing anthing here about that fascinating IT story. It doesn't do much for their (The Reg) rapidly diminishing credibility.

  13. Gravis Ultrasound

    K

    #RESIST #RESIST #RESIST #RESIST #RESIST #RESIST #RESIST #RESIST #RESIST

  14. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Great work fellas

    - Poorly configured server

    - Poor security

    - Server wiped

    - Don't know who dun it

    - e-voting in general

    - stink of corruption and/or interference

    MAGA!

    Making Accountability Generally Avoidable

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prior quote applies here

    "What? Like with a cloth?"

  16. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    "So far, everyone is claiming ignorance of the event. "

    So the deletion has never "officially" happened, yet the data is not there anymore?

    There's been a lot of "deconstructing the event" over the years.

    No one knows anything has happened.

    No one authorized anything to happen.

    And yet something has happened.

  17. lglethal Silver badge
    Joke

    Call the NSA...

    Since the NSA likes to snoop on everything, I'm sure they'll have a copy lying around somewhere.

    Maybe if the NSA changed there name to the National Society of Archivists then everyone will be so much more trusting. I mean they're just glorified librarians after all and who doesnt like librarians?

  18. jimbo60

    Isn't it obvious?

    Logan Lamb: "You could just go to the root of where they were hosting all the files and just download everything without logging in," he said. He also noted the files had been indexed by Google, making them readily available to anyone looking in the right place.

    Um...why not just get a copy from him? Or maybe Google cache?

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Isn't it obvious?

      I think you'll find that this "going to the root" applies to the http server's hosting "root" which only lets you access "all" the documents that were _meant_ to be network-exposed (to someone properly logged in as normally intended, not so much the case here). That does not include any of the rest of the filesystem / potential malware / access logs / etc.

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Isn't it obvious?

        Unless this "going to the root" meant the http server was misconfigured to use the server root as the webserver root? I can see someone readily doing that and not realizing they did it wrong.

    2. PNGuinn
      Trollface

      Re: Isn't it obvious?

      "Logan Lamb: "You could just go to the root of where they were hosting all the files and just download everything without logging in," he said. He also noted the files had been indexed by Google, making them readily available to anyone looking in the right place."

      Wayback machine?

  19. Wiltshire

    Stand by for Al Reg bots down-voting any reports that run counter to the party line. Like (for example) the recent news in the Washington Post:

    "Russian Dossier" was paid for by the Clinton Campaign…

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/clinton-campaign-dnc-paid-for-research-that-led-to-russia-dossier/2017/10/24/226fabf0-b8e4-11e7-a908-a3470754bbb9_story.html

    Meanwhile, stories are still breaking about the Russian donations to the Clinton Foundation around the time of the Uranium One deal which gave Russians part-ownership of American uranium assets. And a $500,000 speaking fee received in Russia by Bill Clinton,

    "The Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees will jointly investigate the FBI’s probe into Clinton’s handling of classified documents. Meanwhile, the latter committee with the Intelligence committee will jointly probe the sale of a uranium company to a Russian firm when Clinton was Secretary of State."

    More down-votes?

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Stop

      Actually the Dossier started with the Republicans...

      Alright I'll bite. The Russian Dossier was actually started under funding from the Republican National Committee because they didnt want Trump as a candidate. Once he won the Primaries, the dropped it (naturally) and it was effectively sold to the Clinton campaign. After that it was picked up by the FBI. Not bad work from the makers of the dossier - they got to sell it 3 times.

      (here's my source for my info, where's yours? - http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41752908)

      But seriously, if you dont think that EVERY side in an American election doesnt have Dossiers looking for dirt on their rivals you'd have to be crazy. The fact that the only thing the trump campaign really came out with against Hilary was the email saga and some potentially dodgy money coming to her foundation says to me that she's relatively clean (on a politicians scale of cleanliness). Considering that Trump has absolutely no problem letting rip with any dirt he can possibly come up with (real or not), I cannot see him sitting on anything that was actually dirty.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Actually the Dossier started with the Republicans...

        My concern is that the dossier was made to appear as a document created by UK intelligence services and accepted and reported by the media as such. Don't forget it was used to push the Republican/Russia collusion story and presented to law enforcement to investigate.

        Meanwhile, the Reg keeps pushing that discredited narrative and doesn't report on all the stories out there that illustrate that - or have to do with Democratic misdeeds. Earlier posts mention the example of the house Democrat's IT imbroglio.

        What perplexes us me is why would the UK based Reg decide to take on the role of Democratic Party house organ?

      2. nkuk

        Re: Actually the Dossier started with the Republicans...

        "that the only thing the trump campaign really came out with against Hilary was the email saga and some potentially dodgy money coming to her foundation says to me that she's relatively clean (on a politicians scale of cleanliness)."

        Thats got to be the funniest thing I've read all year. There was a lot more than that. I dislike Trump as much as the next person, but Hillary is as corrupt as they come. The US election was about choosing the lesser of two evils once Bernie was out of the running.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Actually the Dossier started with the Republicans...

          The US election was about choosing the lesser of two evils once Bernie was out of the running.

          And they fucking failed at that.

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge
      WTF?

      Why do you guys keep banging on about whatever Hilary did or did not do? How is her alleged bad behaviour in any way an excuse for anything? The election is over.

  20. Matthew 17
    Trollface

    Well at least it's secure now

    Good for another 15 years

  21. EnviableOne Bronze badge

    So how did the data get erased

    Sounds like a good case of hide the evidence it all happened, but as others have said, i FBI come up with the (supposedly forensically secure, TEMPEST stored) copy they have, then that puts most of the cover up theories to bed. which brings me to either deliberate action, lets cover our tracks:-

    secure_erase routine thats a compulsory part of the ANSI T-13 standard (for all ATA drives) and Security_erase thats part of the SCSi standard (but optional)

    or hanlon's razor:-

    as its at university, the physics department might just have made a stonking electro magnet for SnG which degaussed the entire campus

  22. 101
    Big Brother

    Resistance...and Voting... is Futile

    This article is proof positive voting itself has become a futile gesture. It gives us the illusion of democratic process. In this case the government itself is covering up criminal interference with an election. Meanwhile, the head law enforcement agency compounds wrong doing by keeping secrets.

    “Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.”

    Lord Acton

    “Examining public records should never require extraordinary legal or bureaucratic efforts. When it does, it’s usually a red flag.”

    Don Baldwin

    “Sunshine is the greatest disinfectant”

    Louis D. Brandeis

  23. Aodhhan Bronze badge

    Stop injecting your politics

    Trump didn't 'narrowly' win in Georgia, he received 210,000+ more votes than Hilary.

    The lawsuit isn't about recounting the votes. It's about changing the computer systems used for voting. Even if the votes were recounted, it's one district in Georgia. No way 200K+ of votes.

    The lawsuit to upgrade voting equipment is being pursued by Republican's across many states. The Democrats are opposing these suits.

    The GOP supports these suits because new systems support accountability and prevent voter fraud.

    DNC is opposed to them, because they believe people's votes will go uncounted.

    Both sides are upset in this case (at least appear this way), that data was wiped just after the suit was brought on. Funny, this happened before (Hilary's server), but the DNC wasn't very upset about it then. In fact, they did everything they could to make it a non-event.

  24. ThaumaTechnician

    If you think the deletion/wiping is mysterious...

    You clearly aren't paying attention.

  25. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
    FAIL

    And where are the backup copies?

    > No hard copies of the votes are kept, making the electronic copy the only official record.

    Q: What is the #1 Rule of both Computing and Computer Security?

    A: Make a backup!

    In fact, make two backups, one local and one off-site. They should be made as regularly as important files are stored on the computer.

    If a computer user does NOT make backups, they have no business working with computers.

    If a computer user loses data because they don't have backups, they deserve what they get! It's that critical. IOW: Georgia! Get some computer competence immediately or stop using computers!

    What's really fun, of course, is when the backups get wiped as well. They we KNOW...

  26. Walter Bishop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    US voting server hacked by Russian agents

    "It is feared the machine may have been hacked by Russian agents, who have taken a keen interest in the 2016 White House race, or potentially any miscreant on the planet."

    It is feared is it .. I have it on good authority it was albino shape shifting reptiles from a planet in the Draco constellation that did the hacking.

    Seriously though, assuming these records were required as part of an investigation of voter fraud, why wasn't a copy made and stored in a secure location. Oh, I see from the bottom of the article the FBI made a copy.

  27. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Linux

    Don't tell Me

    .....and there are no back ups? This IS a government server subject to stringent rules is it not?

  28. afbach

    Updates

    UPDATE 4:57pm ET: Marilyn Marks, the executive director of the Coalition, a group that is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit, told Ars that she had issued a litigation hold notice to the defendants.

    "They know that they are required to preserve all records when they are sued," she e-mailed. "They don’t need court order. Even IF the SOS office didn’t have three dozen attorneys to tell them to preserve the records, they got this attached letter from us on July 10 and destroyed the second server hard drive on August 9."

    UPDATE 11:40pm ET: Tammy Demel, a spokeswoman for Kennesaw State University, e-mailed Ars a statement.

    "In March 2017, a Center for Election Systems’ server involved in an alleged data breach was turned over to the FBI. While the server was in the possession of the Bureau, a forensic image or copy of all the data on the server was made and held by the agency. Following the notification from the FBI that no data was compromised and the investigation was closed, the server was returned to the University’s Information Technology Services group and securely stored. In accordance with standard operating procedures, an after-action report was prepared. This report outlined hardware improvements for the Center, including repurposing the impacted server and surplusing servers that had exceeded end of life. As part of the report, the original server that had been investigated by the FBI was designated to be repurposed, and the drives on the server were erased and the server made available for alternative uses."

    "As noted by the subpoena filed today by the Attorney General’s Office, the data and information that was on the server in question has been and is still in the possession of the FBI and will remain available to the parties in the event it is determined to be relevant in the pending litigation."

  29. sloshnmosh

    Cause confusion BEFORE you wipe...

    dd if=/dev/sda | sed 's/0/1/g' | dd of=/dev/sda

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Cause confusion BEFORE you wipe...

      dd if=/dev/sda | sed 's/0/1/g' | dd of=/dev/sda

      Interesting..

      Now.... Is there a way to make that a little more random? That could cause even more confusion :)

      1. sloshnmosh

        Re: Cause confusion BEFORE you wipe...

        "Interesting..

        Now.... Is there a way to make that a little more random? That could cause even more confusion :)"

        LOL!

        Sure,Here you go:

        dd if=/dev/sda | sed 's/D/R/g' | dd of=/dev/sda

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