Editorials: Volkswagen and the Era of Cheating Software | The New York Times

September 25, 2015

For the past six years, Volkswagen has been advertising a lie: “top-notch clean diesel” cars — fuel efficient, powerful and compliant with emissions standards for pollutants. It turns out the cars weren’t so clean. They were cheating. The vehicles used software that cleverly put a lid on emissions during testing, but only then. The rest of the time, the cars spewed up to 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide emissions. The federal government even paid up to $51 million in tax subsidies to some car owners on the false assumption of environmental friendliness. … Computational devices that are vulnerable to cheating are not limited to cars. Consider, for example, voting machines. Just a few months ago, the Virginia State Board of Elections finally decertified the use of a touch-screen voting machine called “AVS WinVote.” It turned out that the password was hard-wired to “admin” — a default password so common that it would be among the first three terms any hacker would try. There were no controls on changes that could be made to the database tallying the votes.  If the software fraudulently altered election results, there would be virtually no way of detecting the fraud since everything, including the evidence of the tampering, could be erased.  Read more: http://thevotingnews.com/volkswagen-and-the-era-of-cheating-software-the-new-york-times/