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NIST Finds Security Problems With Overseas e-voting [View All]

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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-26-08 01:51 AM
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NIST Finds Security Problems With Overseas e-voting
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My first reaction is: "Ya Think?!?.

Second, why specify "overseas"? Does that mean e-voting from Mississippi or Mexico is safe? Of course, it isn't. They should just say so.

NIST Finds Security Problems With Overseas e-voting

By Grant Gross, IDG News Service, 12/24/2008


Even though voting by standard mail has its own problems, the report, from the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), says that electronic transmission of completed ballots, also including telephone and fax, "present significant challenges to the integrity of the election."


The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) requires the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to study methods of overseas voting, and the NIST report is part of that effort. "IT security is an important aspect of this issue, so EAC asked NIST to conduct a study that would explore the security threats associated with potential electronic technologies for overseas voting, and identify possible ways of mitigating the threats," said Nelson Hastings, co-author of the report.

The NIST report says it's relatively safe to transmit unfilled ballots by fax or e-mail or put them on the Web, but sending filled-in ballots by those methods present problems with security or privacy.


There are also a number of less sophisticated attacks that could disrupt e-mail voting, the report says. "A denial-of-service attack could flood election officials with a massive number of fraudulent e-mails," the report says. "The number of e-mails could quickly overwhelm the election officials e-mail server, preventing legitimate registration forms from reaching election officials."


Several states already distribute ballots by e-mail or fax, and the NIST report recommends the Election Assistance Commission develop guidelines for doing so. It offers little advice for alternatives to traditional mail for returning ballots, however, saying improvements in security need to be monitored.


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