Sunday, November 18, 2012

Theft Of Election Foiled By Anonymous ?

On October 27th, I posted about alleged election rigging that has possibly been going on for several elections (that would flip 10% of votes from one candidate to his opponent -- enough to swing a close election). Supposedly, this was even done in the Republican primary to help Romney win, and it was done only in very large counties with lots of votes (because the manipulation of votes would be less obvious in a large county).

Evidently some people believed this was happening, or at least could be happening -- the hacker group known as Anonymous. On November 1st, I wrote that Anonymous had published a public letter warning Karl Rove not to try and steal the election through any kind of digital manipulation. They told him they would be watching, and he would be caught if he tried anything nefarious.

Did Rove try to steal the election? Possibly. The letter above is purportedly from Anonymous (and was sent to the website Wonkette). We know the Republicans had a computer system called ORCA, which they claimed was to help them get out the vote (and which failed miserably on election day). The letter claims that ORCA had a dark side, which would allow it to tap into computers in at least three states to change votes -- and that Anonymous blocked the computer portals to those states by hacking in to the GOP computer system and erecting a firewall to prevent access on election day, insuring an honest election.

Did this really happen? Did Rove and his minions set up a system to steal votes, only to have it blocked by Anonymous? I honestly don't know (being barely computer literate myself). But I believe it is possible, and if it did happen, I hope they go ahead and release the information to the world. Here is an interesting take on the situation by Nathaniel Downes over at Addicting Info:

While some might consider this a random letter, or a jump to claim responsibility, if you step back and study the letter carefully a very clear message comes out.
They cite specific numbers. They state precisely how many tunnels are there. They cite how many passwords were attempted. But, there are key words which look innocent but, to a computer engineer, are very much a trigger.
These phrases are (our emphasis):
We noticed these tunnels were strategically placed to allow for tunnel rats to race to the sewer servers from three different states.
Now, to a normal person a rat is just that: a furry animal or a slang term for a scoundrel. But to a computer person, a rat is something radically different, a r.a.t. hack. The Remote Administration Tool hack is a method of remotely accessing a machine as if it were local. Using such a hack, you would have full access to the machine, at a level someone physically at the machine may not have. A “sewer server” is a term used to denote a hack over a secured tunnel, known as a Secured SHell (SSH), using a form of encryption designed to make it appear to be innocent background traffic.
This is not some general discussion, making claims in order to claim. They have released clear and specific details on what exactly was done, information which the people behind Orca can verify. Even more telling, however, is the name the group used for their denial of service attack:
The Great Oz
“Oz” refers to the land in the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz; more currently, it refers to the television show Oz,which is about a prison. And the actions the group took was to attempt to hack the election into jail, locking it away. It broke, absolutely. We reported on the failures of Orca and its public face earlier. What Anonymous is claiming is that Orca’s public face was a farce, a lie. It was not to coordinate poll challengers so much as to steal the election.
The little cherry on top, however, is the hint that Anonymous not only blocked the operation, but kept copies of the code and data from Orca and are planning on leaking it to wikilinks. If and when this happens, you know AI will be there.


  1. Maybe that's why Rove refused to have Fox concede election, he couldn't believe they didn't get Ohio? Or why Romney didn't make a concession speech...he wasn't expecting to lose? They would have needed a lot more than Ohio, but they definitely acted like they had been thrown off their game and surprised their gambit didn't work. your 15 year old daughter and I read it EVERY DAY!!!

  2. Rove certainly acted like he thought the fix was in, didn't he?

    P.S. -- Thanks for reading the blog!

  3. It surely would explain Rove's incredulous reaction. I have to admit, it makes it even MORE amusing to consider. Would it be a bad joke to point at the internet and say to the Republicans, "You didn't build this!"

  4. Bookmarked. I'm an I.T. guy that followed news of Republican attempts to disenfranchise voters for almost two years, and the ORCA scandal... if true... has the potential of making "Watergate" (the 1974 break-in, document theft & attempted bugging of Democratic HQ) look "quaint".

    I'm DEFINITELY eager to see that code.

  5. I said it before elsewhere, this whole thing went down like the ending of an old TV "Mission Impossible" show. Even to the point of the visible meltdown of the bad guy. Jim Phelps would be proud.

  6. Would you explain to this software ignorant person if the voting software itself was tampered with in order to erect the firewall? It seems to me that Anonymous kept away from touching the software and merely(!) protected it. I'm am making an important assumption for Anonymous' legal protection. I don't want the possibility of prosecution when what they did was protect the rights of all US voters.

    I would love to see this investigated and Rove and company prosecuted, along with the Koch brothers et al.

  7. I was thinking about Ohio where there were "patches" at the last minute...machines were faulty and were replaced...Hmmm...I smell a rat..

  8. please let these people turn the info over to whoever can prosecute rove and his minions. i was afraid to believe this story when i read it on wonkette last week. if true, it could mean the end of rove's political machinations. but after hearing thom hartman expand on it a a couple of days ago, and seeing it here, i am hopeful that we are witnessing the beginning of the end of rove's freedom to steal our elections and the beginning of his new career running from the big guy in the cell with him.

  9. A “sewer server” is a term used to denote a hack over a
    secured tunnel, known as a Secured SHell (SSH), using a
    form of encryption designed to make it appear to be
    innocent background traffic.

    Yeaaaaah, you just made that up. There's a halfway decent argument here, don't spoil it by pulling technical terminology out of thin air.

  10. Nor do they fully understand it, the Internet. Someone should publish this data and expose the GOP funders, programmers and operatives who probably conspired on the 2000, 2004, and 2008 elections to create the "permanent" Republican Majority.

  11. Assuming Anonymous is correct, it's no stretch at all to believe that Rove & Co. stole the Ohio election in 2004 as well. They didn't even bother to change their tactics. And several people need to go to jail for treason over that incident.

  12. karenfromillinois11/21/2012 2:26 PM

    i think there were house seats in illinois in the cd -13 race dr gill was "beaten" by a repub but here is the was supposed to be the token downstate democratic anon while i appreciate what you did in the presidental election...your work is not over

  13. Rove himself proves that some sort of firewall had been set up, blocking his computers from the Ohio Sec of State website, at exactly the time in question.
    Quote from video linked below "... Ohio secretary of state website.. I've got the director of the Ohio campaign for Romney ON THE OTHER END OF THE LINE, refreshing the page every few seconds"
    This means that Rove could not access the Ohio SofS website himself, and he had to get results forwarded from another computer, which apparently had no problem.
    It could hardly be more clear. Rove may as well have said "There is some kind of firewall between here and Ohio." I would not be surprised if the entire fox NY studio complex, or even a large portion of NYC was blocked from the Ohio SofS website for a few hours. With the correct access, this hack would be very easy to do, and could be easily cleaned up, leaving almost no trace.

    I believe beyond any doubt that Rove was fire walled, and ORCA too.

  14. Moving further along... if you were anonymous, and you had successfully been playing games with ORCA all day long, and suddenly Rove stammers out "I'm firewalled to the Sec of State, so i have to get my data forwarded from the Romney campaign in Ohio" What would you do....
    Well, anonymous would now block the Romney campaign (in Ohio) from the Sec of State. That's exactly what happened. Look at 3:50 in the same video.


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