Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government Security

Indian Election Officials Challenges Critics To Hack Electronic Voting Machine (thehindu.com) 52

Slashdot reader erodep writes: Following the recent elections in India, there have been multiple allegations of electoral fraud by hacking of Electronic Voting Machines... Two weeks ago, a party even "demonstrated" that these machines can be hacked. The Election Commission of India has rubbished these claims and they have thrown an open challenge, starting June 3rd to hack these EVMs using WiFi, Bluetooth or any internet device. This is a plea to the hackers of Slashdot to help secure the future of the largest democracy on the planet.
Each party can nominate three experts -- though India's Aam Aaadmi Party is already complaining that there's too many terms and conditions. And party leader Sanjay Singh has said he also wants paper ballots for all future elections, arguing "All foreign countries like America, Japan, Germany and Britain have gone back to ballot paper."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Indian Election Officials Challenges Critics To Hack Electronic Voting Machine

Comments Filter:
  • And party leader Sanjay Singh has said he also wants paper ballots for all future elections, arguing "All foreign countries like America, Japan, Germany and Britain have gone back to ballot paper."

    Britain never switched away from paper ballots, so it hasn't gone back.

  • So he issued an open challenge to hack the election two weeks after it was demonstrated hacks were easily possible?

    *gets the popcorn* This should be entertaining. I wonder how many meters deep the smoking craters of their servers will be.

    • The political party (AAP) used a prototype, not the original Electronic Voting Machine, to show how it can be done. Now the Election Commission has organised hackathon for the original machine. Such hackathon have been previously also organised without any success.

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday May 21, 2017 @12:16PM (#54459455)

      The challenge is meaningless. It is far easier to install a backdoor than to detect one. Heartbleed went undetected for years, and that was an unintentional bug with full source available to anyone. A maliciously designed backdoor, specifically designed to be hidden, would be far harder to detect. It is not clear from TFA if the hackers will have access to the source code, but since it says they will not be allowed to "tweak" the EVMs, it sounds like they will not, and they certainly will not be allowed to recompile to install instrumentation to capture intermediate state. They are also only give 4-5 days, which is nowhere near enough time to understand a complex system.

      This "hacker challenge" is designed to ensure failure. Why? They only reason I can think of is that they are hiding something.

      • That machine has no network interface. No ethernet, no bluetooth, no wifi nothing. The data is collected by shutting down the machine and unplugging the memory module. There are 64 buttons to push on the voting machine, and one button in the controller.

        It would easier to switch the memory module when it is transported or when it is tabulated. It is as simple as it can be for a machine without paper trail.

  • by mentil ( 1748130 )

    Hope they enjoy the taste of crow.

  • Is a receipt too much to ask for in a vote??
    • by Minupla ( 62455 )

      Receipts are problematic. If you can prove to officials that you voted one way, you've also broken the concept of a secret ballot, which opens the door for vote manipulation (bribery, threats, etc).

      I know of one local election that was decided by my mother's vote. She regularly lied to my father about how she voted.

      Min

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The "receipt" is left at the voting location, placed inside a locked box that cannot be opened there.

        The "receipt" needs to have enough text on it for an average person/voter to review and see their actual votes.

        In this way, 100% separate counts is possible to validate the electronic counts which can be manipulated. If a human cannot take all the paper and come up with the exact same numbers for each candidate, then you don't have enough traceability.

        PERIOD.

      • That's one important aspect of voting systems. Another important aspect also involves your mum: can she personally verify that the ballots have been counted correctly? (together with a sufficiently large number of other mums). If not, then the voting system is not fit for purpose.
      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        After seeing Jeff Sessions throw a woman in jail for laughing I don't see us having much to lose. We have Gerrymandering screwing with voters. We already have seen Nominees order their followers to go after minorities or people they don't like and beat them up or worse.. We need to make voting mandatory and also let felons vote as well.
  • Get CowboyNeal elected as India's PM!

  • Only one way (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Sunday May 21, 2017 @12:35PM (#54459515)
    There is only one way to do electronic elections.

    You can have an electronic ballot machine, and it will store and tabulate the votes.

    The key part is that it also prints the ballot in large clear print showing what you picked. This paper ballot is the "source of truth". So the election will use the electronic ballots for a quick result. Any interested party can participate in scrutinizing the paper ballots and in the case of a discrepancy, the paper ballots will be used.

    As for online voting, HELL NO.
    • Your comment should be modded up a thousand times, then printed out and mailed to every elected official and non elected official in the world. Bashar al-Assad should get a copy of your post. The sooner we get to voting machines being built (and required) the way you describe, the better off we'll be.
      • Perhaps, but it's more efficient to use the paper receipt in the voting booth and skip the voting machine for that stage, instead having a single or small number of optical counting machines per polling location. That way the cost of expanding the number of booths is inexpensive - you just need some walls of any opaque material, a writing surface, and a marker.

        • The problem with optical counting machines (I assume you mean hand-filled ballots) is that people are more likely to make mistakes when filling them in. "Hanging chads" and all that.
          • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

            The problem with optical counting machines (I assume you mean hand-filled ballots) is that people are more likely to make mistakes when filling them in. "Hanging chads" and all that.

            Well, there are two ways.

            First, don't punch ballots. You get hanging/pregnant/etc chads because you're punching a hole and the punching tool can fail.

            Use a simple pen and paper. Or in Canada, we actually use pencil. You make a mark on the ballot and as long as it is distinct that one can infer your intent, it will be counted pro

            • You make a mark on the ballot and as long as it is distinct that one can infer your intent,

              You don't see potential problems with that?

              They emphasize to make a clear mark to show intent

              They emphasize it because people mess it up.

  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Sunday May 21, 2017 @01:13PM (#54459639)

    Maybe the machines can't be "hacked", as we commonly define the word. But somewhere, one or more people have the keys to the kingdom: the passwords, code, access, and whatever else is necessary to make the machines do whatever they're told to do, then remove all proof they were compromised.

    So all these "hack it, if you can" dares mean nothing. "Hacked" does not mean "compromised", though people with a real interest in stealing an election would like us all to forget that distinction.

    Unless the machine spits out a paper ballot on the spot, and the voter can immediately rectify a wrongly-recorded vote (with proof), anything is possible. Only complete idiots would trust a vote-by-machine election without some unimpeachable method for verifying the results.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Sunday May 21, 2017 @05:12PM (#54460373) Journal
    As far as I remember the Indian EVM (Electronic Voting Machine) is a very simple thing, 64 registers, all simple ripple counters. Button push to vote. Two interlocks, Vote button disabled till the controller unlocks it. Controller is locked till vote button is pressed once. Thus multiple press of vote button is not possible. Controller is at the table of the election official with representatives from contestants present and watching. Voting machine has a small privacy screen. I think one controller and one voting machine per booth. It had no bluetooth or wifi or IR or ethernet or any form of communication.

    Voting data is extracted by taking a memory module out of the machine and plugging it into a tabulator or something. The memory chip is physically transported to the tabulator under seal. Police, election officials and agents accompany the chip. This was what the documentary showed way back when it was introduced.

    This machine was designed by an engineer for BEL (Bharat Electronics Limited) who is very famous for his writings. He goes by the pen name Sujatha [wikipedia.org] and has written wonderful science fiction, mystery novels, humorous articles and some formal literature and formal poetry.

    • Yes the machine has 64 buttons, one per candidate.
    • by gwolf ( 26339 )

      This machine was designed by an engineer for BEL (Bharat Electronics Limited) who is very famous for his writings. He goes by the pen name Sujatha [wikipedia.org] and has written wonderful science fiction, mystery novels, humorous articles and some formal literature and formal poetry.

      Science fiction such as, "The intelligent, autonomous voting machines".
      Mystery novels such as, "Mr. Prime Minister gets 115% of the votes".
      Humorous articles such as "Security and privacy in e-voting systems".
      Formal literature such as "An essay on popular but stupid ideas".
      Formal poetry such as "A B C, I hack thee!"

Take an astronaut to launch.

Working...