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MIT experts recommend that electronic voting should not be used

According to MIT researchers, blockchain-based e-voting is very vulnerable to being hacked.

Electronic voting is gaining more detractors every day. A group of MIT researchers recommends that it not be used, in any way.

Cybersecurity experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are against any form of voting that is based on blockchain. « Online voting in general is much more vulnerable to being hacked than voting in person or by mail, » they stated.

According to the researchers, the physical nature of the ballots makes them much less susceptible to large-scale attacks. Above all, when compared to electronic elections.

« Exploiting a single vulnerability could affect all ballots at once, » they said, according to a statement.

Professor Ron Rivest is leading the group of researchers.

« Although current electoral systems are far from perfect, the use of the blockchain would greatly increase the risk of failure, » Rivest noted. « Any increase in participation would come at the cost of losing security. »

What is the blockchain and how does it influence electronic voting?

The blockchain it is a data structure. In it, the information is grouped by sets to which meta-information is added.

This meta information is relative to another block of the previous chain in a timeline.

Attackers can monitor the votes that are cast and even change or block the ballots.

Sunoo Park is another of the MIT researchers. He points out: « An essential quality missing from blockchain systems is software independence. »

This consists of ensuring that an undetected change or error in a system’s software cannot cause an undetectable change in the election result.

« A malicious system could mislead the voter about how the vote was actually recorded, » Rivest emphasizes. « Democracy – and the consent of the governed – cannot be contingent on whether some software correctly recorded the decisions of the voters. »