Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Wednesday, August 08, 2018

The state of West Virginia is planning to allow overseas voting via smartphone in the 2018 election, and election security experts aren't happy about it. "Mobile voting is a horrific idea," said Joe Hall, an election security expert at the Center for Democracy and Technology in an interview with CNN. The West Virginia project is being run by Voatz, a startup with $2 million in venture capital funding.

More

Comments

Admin's note: Participants in this discussion must follow the site's moderation policy. Profanity will be filtered. Abusive conduct is not allowed.

The GOP in West Virginia must be getting nervous about a Democratic shift in elections there.

#1 | Posted by Zed at 2018-08-08 09:54 AM | Reply

Wow, a more convenient way to steal elections. Just what the Republican Party needs these days. And, since iPhones are made in China the Chinese will be able to compete with Putin in choosing our leaders.

#2 | Posted by danni at 2018-08-08 10:01 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 2


More on Voatz:

Voatz raises $2.2 million to make elections tamper-proof
venturebeat.com

...Mobile-focused voting company Voatz today announced a $2.2 million seed round to roll out blockchain-based voting in the U.S.

One of blockchain technology's big promises is that it will be a democratizing force, and the blockchain community has long talked about making voting more secure, reliable, and unhackable. In fact, a number of countries and company boards are already testing out various blockchain-based voting solutions.

Voatz (pronounced "votes") combines biometrics and blockchain tech to enable secure, auditable elections. The platform is currently in beta release. It runs on a public permissioned blockchain built on the HyperLedger framework and doesn't use any form of cryptocurrency, so the company has no plans for an ICO....

A number of universities, labor unions, state political parties, church groups, and nonprofits are already using Voatz for voting, totaling some 70,000+ voters, the company said in a statement. While the platform is currently available by invitation only, it will have a broader rollout "in the coming weeks."

In addition to bringing more transparency to the voting process, by letting people vote via their mobile devices "Voatz tackles two of the core challenges in voting -- low participation in local elections and the need for better citizen engagement," said Julie Lein, managing partner of the Urban Innovation Fund, which participated in the funding announced today....


I'm still not sure how much of the hype for this is because of the hype surrounding "blockchain" nowadays, and how much of the hype is because the system really is secure?

I also wonder how much of the smartphone's security infrastructure is involved in determining identity and how far along the process that identity is carried, i.e., concerns about a truly secret ballot.


#3 | Posted by LampLighter at 2018-08-08 10:16 AM | Reply

This might be a good idea. The tamper proof part is dependant on digital identity credentials only being used by the real person they represent. Better in some ways than absentee ballots, but worse in other ways.

#4 | Posted by bored at 2018-08-08 03:11 PM | Reply

The big benefit would be allowing people to make sure they are registered to vote easily, next would be the ease of voting. I am sure there are technical solutions to most hacking risks.

#5 | Posted by bored at 2018-08-08 03:13 PM | Reply

So you don't need an ID to vote, just a smart phone.

I see how it works.

#6 | Posted by Sycophant at 2018-08-08 06:41 PM | Reply


Another county heard from, so to speak...

Funnily enough, no, infosec bods aren't mad keen on W. Virginia's vote-by-phone-app plan
www.theregister.co.uk

...A spokesperson for West Virginia's Secretary of State told The Register today officials are "aware" of the security concerns regarding Voatz, adding: "It's nothing we haven't considered before." We're told this pilot program will involve up to 10 of the state's 55 counties, which have to opt into the project. The previous test involved two counties....

According to state bureaucrats, Voatz uses a combination of blockchain ledgers and biometrics: a scan of the photo on your government ID has to match a selfie taken by your phone before a ballot can be cast, and the data is stored in a blockchain held on distributed backend servers. That's supposed to stop miscreants from voting as someone else, voting multiple times, tampering with tallies, and so on.

Voters participating in the midterms will still have the option to send in paper ballots and, judging by this week's response from the infosec community, that may be a good idea....

Security experts are not convinced the startup's system will be secure enough to ensure nobody can mess with the submitted election results, especially with Russian and other hackers taking a keen interest in America's democratic processes.

UK-based computer security bod Kevin Beaumont outlined on Monday a list of red flags that he spotted.

We're told the Voatz website needs patching: it is powered by an out-of-date version of the Apache web server on a box with an out-of-date SSH service and PHP installation. It also apparently exposes NTP, POP3, PHP3, and a 2009-era edition of Plesk to the internet. The site's database, hosted on Azure, has a remote administration panel exposed on port 8080 with no HTTPS protection, according to Beaumont.

This does not inspire confidence that Voatz can keep miscreants out of its servers, and prevent them from potentially meddling with election results.

Some of the Voatz source code also appears to have ended up on GitHub complete with Yodlee account login credentials and the keys to one of the upstart's MongoDB databases. Yodlee is used to identify voters' identities via their bank account details....


It looks as if Voatz needs to get its own house in order...

#7 | Posted by LampLighter at 2018-08-08 06:45 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Sounds like it's even more hackable than the crappy systems most states already have. Imagine that!

#8 | Posted by aborted_monson at 2018-08-08 10:57 PM | Reply

Sounds like it's even more hackable than the crappy systems most states already have. Imagine that!

#9 | Posted by aborted_monson at 2018-08-08 10:57 PM | Reply

@#8 ... Sounds like it's even more hackable than the crappy systems most states already have. ...

Yup. And given that it appears the current systems are being, ummm, played with by persons unknown...

Bizarre tales, confusing ballots from Georgia's primary contained in federal lawsuit
www.mcclatchydc.com

...It appeared, according to the Georgia Secretary of State's website, that Habersham County's Mud Creek precinct in northeastern Georgia had 276 registered voters ahead of the state's primary elections in May.

Some 670 ballots were cast, according to the Georgia secretary of state's office, indicating a 243 percent turnout.

But on Tuesday at 10 a.m., the number of registered voters on the secretary of state's website was changed for Mud Creek to 3,704 registered voters, reflecting a more likely turnout of about 18 percent....


#10 | Posted by LampLighter at 2018-08-09 08:11 AM | Reply

AHHHHHHHHHH, so now we truly find out why Obama had to make sure everyone gets a phone. If he didn't, Dems know there is no way they could get illegal immigrants to vote. Now that they can all get phones for free, Dems can truly mobile their illegal voting bloc and win.

"I'm still not sure how much of the hype for this is because of the hype surrounding "blockchain" nowadays, and how much of the hype is because the system really is secure?"

It really is that secure...for now. But there are two issues. One, security of blockchains are dependent on how many nodes are utilizing the blockchain. If 5 people have a blockchain, the security is still good but not considered good for any practical uses where security is a priority. Second, nobody has created a way to maintain blockchains on nodes without needing supporting systems. For example, a blockchain needs transactions of some kind, which are processed and stored at the node level. It will be a very hard initiative to have every person manage their own "wallet" and keep it synchronized across all devices. For voting off of one device like a smartphone, that may be possible. But once it's done at that level, they will start mandating it's use on many other things...some of which you may have to use a computer for, or another type of device. In these cases, you can't store your blockchain identity across all devices in an easy way. The only other alternative is to keep it in the cloud, but the problem there is that now you lose a huge part of the security that blockchains are used for because cybercriminals can steal credentials very easily (if you haven't noticed by the breaches in the last 10 years). Once they get your password, they have your entire blockchain so however secure the blockchain is is irrelevant.

#11 | Posted by humtake at 2018-08-09 11:57 AM | Reply

AHHHHHHHHHH, so now we truly find out why Obama had to make sure everyone gets a phone. If he didn't, Dems know there is no way they could get illegal immigrants to vote. Now that they can all get phones for free, Dems can truly mobile their illegal voting bloc and win.

#11 | POSTED BY HUMTAKE

Your stupidity hurts my head.

West Virginia is a Red State. The governor is a Republican. The legislature is Republican (64 to 36).

Are you suggesting Republicans in West Virginia are moving to smartphone voting so Democrats can get illegals to vote?

You should stop posting. You aren't smart enough to be here.

#12 | Posted by Sycophant at 2018-08-09 12:26 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

Can we finally admit our election process is a sham?

Just get the six richest American families and have them put one of their elder children at the head of the federal government.

Repeat every ten years.

Republicans will be elated.

#13 | Posted by ClownShack at 2018-08-09 12:46 PM | Reply

#11 | POSTED BY HUMTAKE

Funny. Conservatives like you drop in a thread, post some ridiculous easily disproven lie, and then run away like cry babies after you are proven wrong.

No wonder Trump is your hero. Whiny little snowflakes incapable of telling the truth. Is your life as sad as your posts?

#14 | Posted by Sycophant at 2018-08-09 04:54 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Comments are closed for this entry.

Home | Breaking News | Comments | User Blogs | Stats | Back Page | RSS Feed | RSS Spec | DMCA Compliance | Privacy | Copyright 2018 World Readable

Drudge Retort