Tell us about your experiences with Marketplace. Enter To Win

Pac-Man Hacks Voting Machines

John Moe Aug 20, 2010

As we head into another election season, two computer scientists, J. Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan and Ariel Feldman of Princeton, wanted to make a point about the insecurity of electronic voting. So they reprogrammed a Sequoia touch-screen voting machine to play Pac-Man instead of showing plain-old ballots. As Tech Dirt points out:

They did this in three afternoons (and remember, these machines are often left totally unguarded, in the open at polling places for days before elections) without breaking any of the “tamper-resistant” seals that are supposed to alert anyone to any foul play. As Halderman noted:
We could have reprogrammed it to steal votes, but that’s been done before, and Pac-Man is more fun!

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.