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HowcanElectronicVotingMachines(EVM)bemanipulated?
Part2

Dr.KhomdonSinghLisam*


ElectronicVotingMachines(EVM)::PixTSE

4.Whichcandidatetofavour

OncethedishonestdisplayisinstalledinanEVM(possiblymonthsoryearsbeforetheelection),theattackermustcommunicatewhich
candidateistobefavouredordisfavouredandbywhatmargin.Therearemanydifferentwaysthatattackerscouldsendsuchasignal
variouskindsofradios,secretcombinationsofkeypresses,orevenbyusingthenumberofcandidatesontheballot.

2.StealingofVotesTostealvotes,theattackerindicateshisfavouredcandidateusingtherotaryswitch,whichselectsanumberfrom0
9,andtheattackercanuseittopickafavouredcandidateinanyofthefirst9ballotpositions,whichnormallyincludethemajornational
parties.Whentheswitchissettopositions19,thechipontheclipondeviceexecutesavotestealingprogramme.

Theprogrammerunsintwopasses:first,itreadsthelistofvotesandcalculateshowmanyvotestostealfromeachcandidate,and
second,itrewritesthelistofvotes,stealingvotesascalculatedinthefirstphase.Anytimebetweenthestartofpollingandthepublic
count,dishonestelectioninsidersorothercriminalscouldusetheclipondevicetochangethevotesrecordedintheEVM.InIndia,
countingsometimestakesplaceweeksaftervoting,socriminalscouldwaitforanopportunitytotamperwiththemachineswhilethey
areinstorage.Innormaloperation,theEVMlimitstherateofvotingtonomorethan5perminute.

However,ClipondevicebypassesthesoftwarerestrictionsoftheEVM,soanattackerisabletoagainforciblytakecontrolofanEVM
andstufftheelectronic"ballotbox"withanynumberofvotes.Theseattacksareneithercomplicatednordifficulttoperform,butthey
wouldbehardtodetectordefendagainst.

3. Dishonest insiders or other criminals with physical access to the machines at any time before ballots are counted can insert
malicioushardwarethatcanstealvotesforthelifetimeofthemachines.Attackerswithphysicalaccessbetweenvotingandcounting
canarbitrarilychangevotetotalsandcanlearnwhichcandidateeachvoterselected.

4TheEVMhasnomeansforthevotertoverifythathis/hervoteshavebeentalliedproperly.

5.TheEVMhasnomeansoutsideofthememoriesofthevotingmachinesthemselvestoauditorrecountthevotes.

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6. Susceptibility to fraud: Although some may believe that tampering with an electronic voting machine is extremely hard to do,
computerscientistshavetamperedwithmachinestoprovethatitisquiteeasilydone.Ifpeoplehaveaccesstothemachines,andknow
howtoworkthem,theycantakethememorycardoutofthemachine,whichstoresthevotes,andinplacetheyputtheirownmemory
cardwithavirusthatcantamperwiththevotes

7.Governmenttiesofmanufacturers:TheGovernmentatthetimeofelectionmayhireanymanufacturerorcompanyformanufacturing
EVMsaccordingtotheneedsofthepoliticalpartyinpowerAnEVMcanbetamperedduringmanufacturingstage,thattooduringthe
manufacturing of the Chip. After tampering the EVM, its difficult to detect it by a third party. When the tampering happens at the
manufacturingstageofchip,eventhosewhoareassemblingtheEVMswillnotbeawareofandcannotdetecttampering.

8. Malicious software programming: Any computer software is basically generated from software programming and coding. And all
thesesoftwarescouldbetamperedwithbyacomputerprogrammerwhoknowsthesourcecode.Testingelectronicvotingsystemsfor
securityproblems,especiallyiftheywereintentionallyintroducedandconcealed,isbasicallyimpossible.Ifmaliciouscodingisinserted
byprogrammersintocommercialsoftwarethataretriggeredbyobscurecombinationsofcommandsandkeystrokesviathecomputer
keyboard,thenelectionresultscanchangecompletely.

9.Physicalsecurityofmachines:

10.Securestorageofcastvotes:Thevotesthatarecastusingtheelectronicvotingmachines,arestoredinasafestorageorspacein
thecomputermachinememory.Thetimegapbetweenelectionandthecountingofvotesisarisktopossiblehackingandmanipulation
.Thechanceoftamperingincreasesasthetimegapincreases.

WhydoothercountriesrejectedEVMs?

Several countries in the world rejected Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) because they are difficult to secure, easily subject to
manipulationandopentolargescalefraudandposeaseriousthreatforfree,fairandtransparentelectionsindemocraticsocieties.
EVMsareallowedinmoststatesoftheUSonlywithapaperbackup.IndianEVMsdonotproduceapapertrail,whichisamajor
drawback.Potentialdangersof"votefraud"andmoreimportantly,lackoftransparencyandverifiabilityassociatedwiththemprompted
banorrestrictionsoftheiruse.DevelopednationsliketheUnitedKingdom,France,JapanandSingaporehavesofarstucktovotingon
paperballots,owingtotheirsimplicity,verifiabilityandvoterconfidenceinthesystem.

SomeofthecountrieshohaverejectedEVMsareasfollows:

1.Irelandabandonedevotingin2006.

2.ItalianMinisterGiulanoAmatostated,"Wedecidedtostoptheelectronicvotingmachine.Duringthe2006electionsweexperimented
withthemachinesasavotingsystem,andnotasystemthatcountsthesections,withoutanyreferencetothelegallyvalidvotes."Let's
stick to voting and counting physically because less easy to falsify." ( Source of info: http://www.jasonkitcat.com/h/f/JDOM/blog/1/?
be_id=320)

3.CaliforniaSecretaryofStateKevinShelleybannedEVMsintheNovember2004electionsascertainsecurityconditionswerenot
met with. Verifiable paper trail & certain security conditions need to be implemented. People want elections results that can be
physicallyverified.(http://www.wvcag.org/news/fair_use/2004/07_01e.htm)

4.Germany'sSupremeCourtruledinMarch2009thatevotingwasunconstitutional.

5.IntheNetherlands,in2006,licensesof1,187EVMswerewithdrawnaftercitizengroup'Wedonottrustvotingmachines'showed
theycouldhackintoEVMsin5minutesfromupto40metreswithouttheknowledgeofvotersorelectionofficials.Thenationwillreturn
topapervoting."(Publication:ComputerWorld,Dt:19052008,Author:AndreasUdodeHaes)

6.SupremeCourtofFinlanddeclaredtheresultofpilotelectronicvotingmachinesinvalidinthemunicipalcorporationelectionsof
2009.AfterHugoChvezwonthe2004electioninVenezuela,itcameoutthatthegovernmentowned28percentofBizta,thecompany
thatmanufacturedthevotingmachines.TheCIAhasreportedvoteriggingschemesinVenezuela,MacedoniaandUkraineandaraftof
concernsaboutEVMs&tampering.Stigallwhostudiedelectronicsystemsinabout36countriessaidthatmostcountries'machines
produced paper receipts that voters then dropped into boxes. However, even that doesn\'t prevent corruption.
(http://www.mcclatchydc.com/226/story/64711.html)

ShouldIndiaalsobanEVMs?

SpeedofelectionresultsisobviouslyanattractionfortheEVMs.Butsavingdemocracyismorecriticalthansavingelectioncostsor
gaininefficiency.NumerousEVMriggingallegationshavebeenmadebymanyprominentpersonalities.

* "EVMs were manipulated during the poll which resulted in defeat of many Congress candidates," IANS quoted Congress general
secretaryGhulamNabiAzadassayingsoonafterhisparty'sdefeatinOrissainJuly2009.

* LK Advani has demanded a paper backup to electronic voting. Parties such as CPM, TDP, AIADMK, RJD, LJP and Trinamool
Congresshavejoinedthechorus.

* In 2001, Capt. Amarinder Singh, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee alleged that EVMs can be tampered with.(

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ttp://www.tribuneindia.com/2001/20010312/main4.htm

* In 2009, Chandrababu Naidu blamed the EVMs for his defeat. ( http://www.deccanchronicle.com/hyderabad/now,naidublames
evms720

* In 2009, AIADMK urged the EC to revert back to paper ballots, saying that EVMs were rigged in Lok Sabha polls
(http://www.thehindu.com/2009/05/28/stories/2009052850110100.htm)

* When the Indian National Congress surpassed all projections to win 262 seats in 2009, According to Dr. Subramanian Swamy,
PresidentoftheJanataParty(2482010),theLeaderofIndianNationalCongressMrs.SoniaGandhireportedlyhiredhackerstohack
intoelectionresultsoftheelectronicvotingmachines,whichresultedinlandslidevictoryoftheIndianNationalCongressinthenational
elections in 2009. (Electronic Voting Machine: Excellent tool of manipulation by News Desk, December 17, 2011
http://www.weeklyblitz.net/1993/electronicvotingmachineexcellenttool)

*In2004,theHon.KeralaHighCourthasaskedECtoconsiderrepresentationseekingchangesintheEVMs.toconsidersuggestions
of Prof. Satinath Choudhary and address issues concerning possible tampering of EVMs (
http://www.thehindu.com/2009/05/27/stories/2009052751030200.htm

*On1stDecember,2010,PrimeMinisterSheikhHasinaofBangladeshannouncedthattherewillbefullelectronicvotingsystemin
Bangladeshtoarrangethefutureelectionsinaflawlessmanner.Butthereareseriousallegationsthatagroupof"electionplanners"of
therulingpartyhasalreadycontactedanumberofleadingEVMhackersinIndia,includingthemostinfamous"CyberArmy".According
tounconfirmedsources,therulingpartyinfluentialfiguresfromBangladesharealreadybargaininga"packagedeal"withtheIndian
hackersinensuringamassivevictoryandreelectionofBangladeshAwamiLeagueduringtheelectionin2014inexchangeofahuge
amountofmoney.

Initially,theIndianhackersdemandedUS$1billionforthisservicewhilethefigurehasalreadybeenbroughtdowntoUS$400million
andthe ruling party men are optimistic of getting even a cheaper deal with the Indian hackers. Once the deal will be successfully
concluded,therewill be visibly no way in stopping the ruling party from getting reelected in the election of 2014. Bangladesh has
indigenously developed its own electronic voting machines. Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET) has
developedthesesystems.(http://www.indianevm.com/blogs/?cat=3)

Possible solutions Nine safeguards recommended by International Electrical & Electronics Engineering Journal (May 2009, p 23)
shouldbeincorporated.

*EVMsshouldprintapaperrecordofeachvote,tobedepositedinaconventionalballotbox.Thisensuresphysicalevidenceand
speedyresults.

*AVoterVerifiedPaperBallot(VVPB)providesanauditablewaytoassurevotersthattheirballotswillbeavailabletobecounted.
WithoutVVPBthereisnowaytoindependentlyaudittheelectionresults.

*Usetwomachinesproducedbydifferentmanufacturerstorecordsvotes.

*ExposethesoftwarebehindEVMstopublicscrutiny.Havingthesoftwarecloselyexaminedbyindependentexpertswouldmakeit
easiertoclosetechnicalloopholesthathackerscanexploit.

*Boothmonitoring:Strictmonitoringoftheactivitiesinsidethepollingboothisimportanttoeliminatehumanelementsresponsiblefor
frauidandcorruption.

EVMsmaybeneeded,butthisisnotthebestoptionforcorruptionproneenvironmentthatexistinIndia.

Concluded...

*Dr.KhomdonSinghLisamcontributestoepao.netregularly
ThewriterisamedicaldoctorwhoworkedastheMedicalSuperintendentofJNIMSandwasalsoanexProjectDirector,MACSand
ExConsultant,NACO.
Thewritercanbecontactedatkhomdonlisam2005(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)uk
ThisarticlewaspostedonApril06,2012.

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