In this file:
· MIT cybersecurity experts do not trust blockchain-based voting systems
· Blockchain voting risks undetectable nation-scale failures: MIT researchers
MIT cybersecurity experts do not trust blockchain-based voting systems
“I haven't yet seen a blockchain system that I would trust with a county-fair jellybean count, much less a presidential election.”
Turner Wright, Cointelegraph
Nov 16, 2020
While certain parties in the United States continue to challenge the integrity of the election process, a group of researchers is advocating against using Internet-based and blockchain-based voting systems in the future.
According to a Nov. 16 report from researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, relying on blockchain voting technology is not a reliable means of promoting greater turnout and may increase the risk of hackers tampering with elections.
The cybersecurity team of Sunoo Park, Michael Specter, Neha Narula and Ronald L. Rivest concluded that blockchain was “unsuitable for political elections for the foreseeable future” when compared with software-independent methods including voting in person and mail-in ballots. Some of the concerns they raised were the potential lack of ballot secrecy — traceable on the blockchain — and the lack of auditing in the event of a contested race.
“While current election systems are far from perfect, blockchain would greatly increase the risk of undetectable, nation-scale election failures,” said Rivest, an MIT professor and the senior author of the report. “Any turnout increase would come at the cost of losing meaningful assurance that votes have been counted as they were cast.”
The researcher continued:
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Blockchain voting risks undetectable nation-scale failures: MIT researchers
A key goal of an election is to prove to the losing party that they did, in fact, lose, but that's a really hard problem to solve electronically.
By Stilgherrian, ZD Net
November 16, 2020
Claims that "voting on the blockchain" would increase election security have been found wanting and even dubbed "misleading" by researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
In their paper Going from Bad to Worse: From Internet Voting to Blockchain Voting [PDF] published on Monday, they wrote that internet and blockchain-based voting would "greatly increase the risk of undetectable, nation-scale election failures".
"I haven't yet seen a blockchain system that I would trust with a county-fair jellybean count, much less a presidential election," said the senior author, Institute Professor Ron Rivest of MIT's renowned Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
Rivest is best known as the "R" in the RSA encryption algorithm.
The paper analyses and systematises previous research on the security risks of voting systems, both online and offline, and comes to a clear conclusion.
Blockchain technology doesn't solve the fundamental security problems suffered by all electronic voting systems, and may introduce even more problems, the researchers wrote.
Blockchain solutions are "ripe" for what they call "serious failures". These are situations where election results might have been changed, either through error or by an attacker. The change might be undetectable, or even if it's detected, the only solution would be to run a whole new election.
"Exposing our election systems to such serious failures is too high a price to pay for the convenience of voting from our phones," they wrote.
"What good is it to vote conveniently on your phone if you obtain little or no assurance that your vote will be counted correctly, or at all?"
In any event, electronic systems of any kind, blockchain or not, are more susceptible to large-scale attacks because exploiting a single vulnerability could impact every ballot at once.
The physical nature of mail-in ballots or in-person voting is much harder to exploit.
The researchers proposed five minimal election security requirements: