Girl holding smart phone with online voting concept on screen. All screen content is designed by me
Girl holding smart phone with online voting concept on screen. All screen content is designed by me

Blockchain-based voting systems are not trusted by MIT cybersecurity experts

Although the legitimacy of the electoral process continues to be challenged by some parties in the United States. A group of researchers are arguing against using Internet-based and blockchain-based voting systems in the future.

According to a Nov. 16 study by researchers at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Depending on blockchain voting technology is not a secure way of encouraging greater participation. And may increase the risk of election tampering by hackers.

“The Sunoo Park cybersecurity team, Michael Specter, Neha Narula and Ronald L. Rivest concluded that. As compared to software-independent methods like voting in person and mail-in ballots. Blockchain was “unfit for political elections for the near future. The possible lack of ballot confidentiality, traceable on the blockchain. And the lack of auditing in the event of a contested race were some of the issues they posed.

Existing election systems are far from ideal

Although existing election systems are far from ideal, the possibility of undetectable. Nation-scale election failures will be greatly increased by blockchain,” said Rivest. An MIT professor and the report’s senior author.” “Any increase in turnout will come at the expense of sacrificing a substantial guarantee. That votes have been counted as cast.”

The researcher continued:

“I haven’t yet seen a blockchain system that I would trust with a county-fair jellybean count, much less a presidential election.”

When using blockchain technology for a democratic process such as voting versus financial transactions, the team claims that one of the key differences is that when hacks or fraud happens, financial firms sometimes have ways to compensate victims for their losses. Credit card companies will refund money, and tokens connected with a hack have also been able to freeze certain crypto exchanges.

“There can be no protection or recourse against the collapse of democracy in elections,” the study says. “After a compromise election, there is no way to make voters whole again.”

Blockchain-based voting invites significant errors

According to the MIT team, blockchain-based voting often invites opportunities for significant errors.” For example, should hackers find a way to target votes without being caught, then for credible outcomes, officials will effectively have to hold an entirely new election. A blockchain-based voting system with only a single attack point might theoretically provide the opportunity for hackers to modify or delete millions of votes, whereas “destroying a mail-in ballot typically needs physical access.”

Following small-scale deployments, several countries are seeking to further incorporate blockchain technology into the voting process. Russia’s blockchain-based Vladimir Putin term limit voting system allegedly did not allow for transparency of the ballot. As users and third parties were able to decode votes before the official count.

Moreover, in February, inside the blockchain-based voting app Voatz, a different MIT team. Including researcher Michael Specter, published a report highlighting security vulnerabilities. However, prior to the general election this year, both the Democratic and Republican parties used the app for voting at conventions, and Utah officially allowed some citizens to cast their ballots using Voatz in the presidential election.

“Democracy and the consent of the governed should not be made. Based on whether the choices of voters are correctly reported by any software,” Rivest said.