Hackers mess up election system – but don’t worry

“Hackers” delay Canadian election. My favourite part of this article is this quote: “Party officials insisted the integrity of the voting system was not harmed, but acknowledged that the would-be hacker managed to “mess” it up enough to cause lengthy delays. “The system has not been compromised,” said former party national director Brad Lavigne.” (Note: As of June 2014 the original article is offline. A similar one about the same events can be found here)

Hmmm. External, unauthorised user(s) manage to delay an election by “messing up” the system? That sounds pretty compromised to me. ANY unauthorised user who affects the behaviour of the system = compromised.

The “integrity” statement assumes that the officials are smart enough to detect such an attempt (previous examples of election hacking have gone undetected for some time). I assume that to support the “integrity” statement, a full paper ballot count (assuming there are any) was performed to cross check with the electronic results?

The article supplies the usual bad analogies favoured by government officials trying to explain something they don’t understand:

Lavigne said someone outside the party tried to get access, triggering alarms that caused the system to shut down. “The analogy that can be used is that somebody was trying to break into our house and the alarm went off and the robbers were scared away.”” The difference between an election system and a burglar alarm, of course, is that a burglar alarm doesn’t shut you out of your own house once it goes off.

The article later describes slowdowns in accessing the system, which might suggest a Denial of Service attack (so much for the “robbers being scared away”).

Once again: this is why Internet voting is a Bad Idea.

Via Joyce McCloy

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