The popularity of voting online is growing and will be in place for the presidential election in more than 30 states, primarily for voters living overseas or serving in the military. But security experts and some senior Obama administration officials fear there is not enough protection for any ballots transmitted over the Internet. They are warning states that any kind of online voting is not yet secure and most likely will not be for years to come. “We believe that online voting, especially online voting in large scale, introduces great risk into the election system by threatening voters’ expectations of confidentiality, accountability and security of their votes and provides an avenue for malicious actors to manipulate the voting results,” Neil Jenkins, an official in the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications at the Department of Homeland Security, said at a conference of the Election Verification Network this spring. … Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting, a nonprofit organization that advocates for legislation and regulation to promote accuracy, transparency and verifiability of elections, said that at first blush, online voting seems like a good idea to many people. “Sometimes jurisdictions that are adapting something like this spin it as ‘this is very 21st century, this is the modernization of elections,” Smith said. “But it’s one of those cases where tried and true technology actually works best for elections. Paper ballots have many advantages. When something is online, you don’t have that physical record of voter intent.”
Experts say that states will not be able to protect themselves from experienced hackers, including foreign countries who could meddle with a U.S. election. That is one of the reasons that Ron Rivest, an Internet security expert and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, gives online voting security “a big fat F.” “The Chinese are very good at getting into everybody’s systems,” Rivest said. “They’ve attacked most of the Fortune 500 companies successfully.”
In Alaska, voters casting their ballots online see a disclaimer from the state Division of Elections: “When returning the ballot through the secure online delivery system, you are voluntarily waving [sic] your right to a secret ballot and are assuming the risk that a faulty transmission may occur.”
J. Alex Halderman, a University of Michigan professor and director of its Center for Computer Security and Society, cites a pilot project six years ago in the District where the public was invited to attack a proposed Internet voting system. Halderman led a team that within 48 hours was able to gain nearly complete control of the server and change every vote. “We don’t have the technology to vote online safely,” said Halderman, who made a video that shows how his hackers were able to even get inside the security cameras and watch the people running the D.C. system. “It will be decades more before Internet voting can be secure.”
Full Article: More than 30 states offer online voting, but experts warn it isn’t secure – The Washington Post.