Futurama's Bender Wins DC School Board Election

March 6, 2012


To test the security of a new electronic voting system for absentee ballots, the DC School Board decided to invite hackers to attempt to compromise the system before it went into use. SURPRISE! -- it got hacked the shit out of and Bender won. *shaking fist* CURSE YOU, SKYNET! *brap* You too, breakfast burrito!

With the help of two graduate students, [University of Michigan Professor Alex] Halderman started to examine the software. Despite it being a relatively clean Ruby on Rails build, they spotted a shell injection vulnerability within a few hours. They figured out a way of writing directly to the images directory on the compromised server - and then encrypting the traffic so that the front-end intrusion detection system did not spot the intrusion.

The team altered all the ballots on the system to vote for none of the nominated candidates. They then wrote in names of fictional IT systems as candidates, including Skynet and (Halderman's personal favorite) Bender for head of the DC school board. They also set up systems so that any further ballots would come under their control.

According to the log files the team found, plenty of people were also busy trying to get into the system. They spotted attempts to get in from the Persian University, as well as India and China. Using their inside access, they blocked these attacks. Finally, they inserted the word "owned" onto the final signoff screen of the voting page, and set up the University of Michigan football fight song to play after 15 seconds.

The team also found the video cameras installed to watch over the polls were unsecured, and that the user name and password for the main terminal in the voting system were both 'admin' (JESUS!). Basically, voting is a sham and just a way to make the general populous think they have some control when in fact the Illuminati is behind the scenes hacking their way into world domination. And you know what? I've had just about enough of it. "If you can't beat 'em, try sleeping your way to the top", my sister seems to be doing with her life.

Election hacked, drunken robot elected to school board

Thanks to Sarah, who agrees if any robots should be winning elections it's Twiki from Buck Rogers.

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