90 Miles From Tyranny : MIT Warns That Voting App Used in Several States is Vulnerable for Hackers to ‘Alter, Stop or Expose’ Votes

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Saturday, February 15, 2020

MIT Warns That Voting App Used in Several States is Vulnerable for Hackers to ‘Alter, Stop or Expose’ Votes

The app used in several states can be exploited, according to researchers.

An internet-based voting app that has been used on a limited basis in West Virginia, Denver, Oregon and Utah is vulnerable to hackers, according to Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers.

The research indicates that Voatz, an app that has been mostly used for absentee voters and miitary personnel voting overseas, can be exploited to “alter, stop or expose how an individual has voted.”

Election security experts have long warned that internet-based voting is prone for hacking, but that hasn’t stopped states from attempting it.

“We all have an interest in increasing access to the ballot, but in order to maintain trust in our elections system, we must assure that voting systems meet the high technical and operation security standards before they are put in the field,” said Daniel Weitzner, an MIT scientist who helped to prepare the report, on Thursday.

Donald Kersey, a general counsel in the secretary of state’s office in West Virginia, explained that the state has to use electronic voting due to a new law that allows disabled people to vote online. He claims his state hasn’t committed to using the Voatz app.

“Obviously, integrity and security are prime, but voter confidence is equally important,” Kersey said.

Voatz disputes the MIT study, claiming that it was conducted in “bad faith,” and used an older, outdated form of their app that has since been improved. Nevertheless, the experts are crowing that this study backs what they have been saying about the dangers of electronic voting for many years.

“Not to in any way diminish this (excellent) work, but the fact that an online mobile voting scheme has serious security flaws is ultimately unsurprising,” tweeted Matt Blaze, a Georgetown University professor of computer science and law. “Every serious expert has warned against Internet voting.”

“In my view, based on MIT’s findings, no responsible jurisdiction should use Voatz in real elections any time soon,” wrote J. Alex Halderman, a University of Michigan professor. “It will take major advances in security technology before Internet voting is...

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