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Could the next election be hacked?

23 Sep 2014

This year’s election has been and gone, however the debate over New Zealand’s cyber security and surveillance is still a hot topic.

People world wide are dependant on the internet on a daily basis, whether for online grocery shopping, keeping up to date with news, e-commerce or communication.

The issue of whether all of this activity and more is secure is a reoccurring concern.

In the 21st century, there is much debate whether voting should be available online. We bank online. We shop online. We apply for jobs online. So why not vote online? Could it be that in 2017 we will be using electronic devices to vote?

The resistance against moving towards a digital election is based on one thing: security. Case in point; a couple of years ago hackers gained access to an online voting system and altered every ballot on behalf of their preferred candidates.

Fortunately although a real election, this version was a mock up testing security, and proved a valid point that online elections were a real threat to the integrity of the demographic process and invites disaster in a close, contentious race.

“The question of whether Internet voting is secure is really not a political question,” Dr. Halderman says. “It’s a technical question.”

It seems voting online in New Zealand by next election could be “possible”.

However fundamental security problems are yet to be resolved; the risk of intercepting digital communications, logging in as someone else and hacking into servers to rewrite or corrupt code is a very real concern as illustrated by Princeton University in the below symposium.

This post was originally published on the Absolute IT blog - for more information click here

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