Feeds

Senate Leader scraps website war poll, blaming hackers

"Tampering" or the wrong result?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Senate majority leader Bill Frist has yanked a "Bomb Iraq" poll from his website.

Frist's office told The Register that "tampering" was to blame for the removal of the poll, which asked "Should the United States use force to remove Saddam Hussein from power? Your opinion is important to Senator Frist."

"Clever computer programmers created a program that generated 8,700 votes in a day," a spokesperson told us. Which is where the mystery really begins.

The spokesperson couldn't say whether the software was running inside the firewall, representing a major breach of the Senate IT security, or was a robot-style vote generator run by netizens.

The curious thing is that Frist's poll page already banned robots - including the Wayback Machine, archive.org - from the site. Respondents could vote once and then return to the site later to change their vote; only the latest response would be counted.

"As you know government computers are constantly being attacked by hackers," he suggested.

Nor could Frist's office explain why the website administrators simply didn't exclude the votes they didn't want to count - Florida-style.

One correspondent has noted the increasing tally of No votes:-

"At 1:35 pm Washington DC time on March 6, the Frist site reported 31,118 responses to the war poll. Anti-war respondents (55%) had gained a clear majority over pro-war respondents (44.6%). (These figures do not quite add up to 100%, apparently because of the rounding method used by Senator Frist's staff.)

"Within the hour, at 2:23 pm, the anti-war fever had risen, with 56.9% anti-war, 42.9% pro-war. By 4:29 pm, according a snapshot of the Frist site, with 37, 742 total responses, the anti-war vote registered 59.5%, with the pro-war vote ebbing at 39.8%."

The Senate site has been defaced before. Whether this represents a new and more serious breach - as Frist's office suggests - we don't know.

But our enquiries continue. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.