Colm MacCarthaigh colm at stdlib.net
Thu Oct 5 09:02:31 IST 2006



Concerns expressed by many IT professionals about the security of the
e-voting system chosen for use in Ireland were today shown to be
well-founded when a group of Dutch IT Specialists, using documentation
obtained from the Irish Department of the Environment, demonstrated that
the NEDAP e-voting machines could be secretly hacked, made to record
inaccurate voting preferences, and could even be secretly reprogrammed
to run a chess program.

The recently formed Dutch anti e-voting group, "Wij vertrouwen
stemcomputers niet" (We don't trust voting computers), has revealed on
national Dutch television program "EenVandaag" on Nederland 1, that they
have successfully hacked the Nedap machines -- identical to the machines
purchased for use in Ireland in all important respects.

ICTE representative Colm MacCarthaigh, who has seen and examined the
compromised Nedap machine in action in Amsterdam, notes "The attack
presented by the Dutch group would not need significant modification to
run on the Irish systems.  The machines use the same construction and
components, and differ only in relatively minor aspects such as the
presence of extra LEDs to assist voters with the Irish voting system.
The machines are so similar that the Dutch group has been using only the
technical reference manuals and materials relevant to the Irish machines
as a guide, as those are the only materials publicly available."

Maurice Wessling, of Wij vertrouwen stemcomputers niet, adds
"Compromising the system requires replacing only a single component,
roughly the size of a stamp, and is impossible to detect just by looking
at the machine".

Both ICTE and Wij vertrouwen stemcomputers niet view this as yet another
demonstration that no voting system which lacks a voter-verified audit
trail can be trusted. According to ICTE spokesperson Margaret McGaley
"Any system which lacks a means for the voter to verify that their vote
has been correctly recorded is fundamentally and irreparably flawed".

Margaret McGaley highlighted that it is the machines themselves that are
at risk. "This particular issue is not about the vote counting software,
which we already know must be replaced, this is about the machines that
the Taoiseach has claimed were 'validated beyond any question'. We now
have proof that these machines can be made to lie about the votes that
have been cast on them. It is abundantly clear that these machines would
pose a genuine risk to our democracy if used in elections in Ireland." 

ICTE is repeating its call, which reflects the opinions shared by IT
expert groups, including the E-voting group of the Irish Computing
Society, that any voting system implemented must include a
voter-verified audit-trail.



	Wij vertrouwen stemcomputers niet


	Photographs of the hacked voting machine;
	EenVandaag article (in Dutch):

	Other Dutch coverage:


Margaret McGaley:

	email: mmcgaley at cs.may.ie
	phone: 087 755 4023

Joe McCarthy:

	email:	joe.mccarthy at arkaon.com
	phone:	086 245 6788

Colm MacCarthaigh (In Amsterdam):

	email: colm at stdlib.net
	phone: +31 6 54242980


Irish Citizens for Trustworthy E-voting is an independent group of over
one hundred concerned citizens, IT & Security Practitioners, and Legal
Professionals calling for the introduction of a Voter Verified Audit
Trail with any E-voting system used in Ireland.

ICTE has a website available at


ICTE's main goals are:

    * to ensure that any electronic voting system introduced in Ireland
      meets the following criteria

        o it includes a Voter Verified Audit Trail (VVAT),
        o a booth is used, analogous to the traditional polling booth,

        o all development uses formal methods,

        o all source code is open to public scrutiny and audit.

    * to prevent the use of the Nedap/Powervote system in Irish Elections 
      until it meets said criteria

    * to prevent the purchase of any more equipment or software from
      Nedap/Powervote by the Irish Government unless the system being
      purchased meets said criteria.

Colm MacCárthaigh                        

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