IT experts concerned about security of the parliamentary elections

Election 2017 in NorwayElection 2017 in Norway.Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix

Many of the votes in this year’s parliamentary elections will be counted by computers connected to the internet. Experts are concerned about IT security.

A number of municipalities and counties have introduced electronic counting systems of the votes in the forthcoming Norwegian elections. Especially the largest municipalities have used the EVA computer system, which uses 8-10 minutes to scan 1,000 ballot papers.

This computer system is connected to regular Windows computers with online connection. According to the Electoral Act, the counts are required to be quality assured by the fact that all votes are counted at least twice, but they are not required to be manually counted by people, confirms the director of the election directorate Bjørn Berg to the NRK.

According to a review the channel has made, one can with this system in some places risk  that votes have only been counted by one machine without any other independent control. Torgeir Waterhouse in ICT Norway believes this counting system is vulnerable.

– If someone has infected a system so that every fifth vote for a party is registered to another party, that error will only be repeated in the control count if it is the same machine is used, he says.

However, the election director believes that the counting system is suffiently robust for Norwegians to be able to trust that the election results are correct.

– “There are strict rules integrated  in the systems. In addition, we will discover any errors in the systems by running comprehensive tests prior to the selection. We will make full manual counts and run a machine against these counts, and we have made two test counts already before this election, ” Berg says.


© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today