Based on preliminary reports published by the team of experts that New Hampshire engaged to examine an election discrepancy, it appears that a buildup of dust in the read heads of optical-scan voting machines (possibly over several years of use) can cause paper-fold lines in absentee ballots to be interpreted as votes… New Hampshire (and other states) may need to maintain the accuracy of their optical-scan voting machines by paying attention to three issues:
- Routine risk-limiting audits to detect inaccuracies if/when they occur.
- Clean the dust out of optical-scan read heads regularly; pay attention to the calibration of the optical-scan machines.
- Make sure that the machines that automatically fold absentee ballots (before mailing them to voters) don’t put the fold lines over vote-target ovals. (Same for election workers who fold ballots by hand.)
Security researcher Charlie Belmer is reporting that commercial websites such as eBay are conducting port scans of their visitors.
Looking at the list of ports they are scanning, they are looking for VNC services being run on the host, which is the same thing that was reported for bank sites. I marked out the ports and what they are known for (with a few blanks for ones I am unfamiliar with):
- 5900: VNC
- 5901: VNC port 2
- 5902: VNC port 3
- 5903: VNC port 4
- 3389: Windows remote desktop / RDP
- 5931: Ammy Admin remote desktop
- 5950: WinVNC
- 6039: X window system
- 6040: X window system
- 63333: TrippLite power alert UPS
- 7070: RealAudio
No one seems to know why:
I could not believe my eyes, but it was quickly reproduced by me (see below for my observation).
I surfed around to several sites, and found one more that does this (the citibank site, see below for my observation)
I further see, at least across ebay.com and citibank.com the same ports, in the same sequence getting scanned. That implies there may be a library in use across both sites that is doing this. (I have not debugged into the matter so far.)
- Is this port scanning “a thing” built into some standard fingerprinting or security library? (if so, which?)
- Is there a plugin for firefox that can block such behavior? (or can such blocking be added to an existing plugin)?
I’m curious, too.