Legislation for voting by internet is pending in Colorado, and other states have been on the verge of permitted ballots to be returned by internet. But voting by internet is too insecure, too hackable, to use in U.S. elections. Every scientific study comes to the same conclusion—the Defense Department’s study group in 2004, the National Academy of Sciences in 2018, and others. Although the internet has evolved, the fundamental insecurities are the same: insecure client computers (your PC or phone), insecure servers (that collect the votes), and Americans’ lack of universal digital credentials. Vendors of internet voting systems claim it’s different now: they claim “online voting” is not “internet voting”; they say smartphones are not PCs, cloud-computing systems are more secure than privately hosted servers, dedicated apps are not web sites, and because blockchain. So let’s examine the science. Of course “online voting” is internet voting: your smartphones and laptops connect to servers and cloud servers through the public packet-switched network; even the phone network these days is part of the internet. And if the voter sends a ballot electronically to an election office that prints and counts it, that’s certainly not a “paper ballot” in the sense that a voter can check what’s printed on it. Smartphones are client computers on that same internet. Smartphone operating systems (Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android) have improved their security in recent years, but serious new exploitable vulnerabilities are continually discovered: about 25 per year in iOS (2018-2020) and 103 per year in Android. And there are an unknown number of undiscovered vulnerabilities that attackers may be exploiting. If you prepare a ballot on your smartphone voting for candidate Smith, you cannot be sure whether a hacker has caused your voting app to transmit instead a vote for Jones. Major cloud-computing providers such as AWS and Azure do a good job of securing their systems for the companies that they “host” (banks, retailers, voting apps). But a bank or voting-app maker must write their own software to run in that cloud. It’s difficult to get that software right, and bugs can lead to exploitable vulnerabilities that a hacker could use to change votes as they arrive. AWS is not some sort of magical pixie dust that one sprinkles on software to make it unhackable. Blockchain doesn’t help either: the vote can be hacked before it even gets into the blockchain.
Full Article: Internet Voting is Still Inherently Insecure