Why Was Moscow’s Blockchain Voting System Cracked A Month Before An Election?

It’s simple – Russia wants the world to believe, elections cannot be secured by blockchain from foreign interference

Edward Iftody
Aug 22, 2019 · 7 min read
Hornbill?! Fake news. I’m a dog.- Pixabay

In this article

  • The problem with US electronic voting systems
  • Estonia’s success with electronic voting
  • Moscow’s blockchain voting experiment
  • The long con continues

The problem with US electronic voting systems

Good point, but the booth isn’t the only problem! — GIPHY

Estonia’s success with electronic voting

Democracies around the world should be closely looking at Estonia. Estonia has long-embraced blockchain technology and is the pioneer in electronic voting technology.

Think back to the Soviet Union. The red menace. The better dead than red era – it’s not so long ago

Estonia was part of the Soviet Union for nearly five decades. In 1990, Estonia said goodby to their Soviet comrades, and by 1991, Russia recognized Estonia’s independence, ending 48 years of Soviet occupation.

Old Soviet stuff — Image by MetsikGarden from Pixabay

As an interesting side-note, Estonia removes personal data of any kind from a citizen’s vote in an election. However, if a citizen changes their mind about a political candidate (of course before the election is over) a citizen can change their vote over the Internet, with no other human interaction. The entire process is securely automated. No Russian hacker can interfere with the process.

Moscow’s blockchain voting experiment

So, what happened in Moscow?

Moscow programmers decided to use three short private keys (basically passwords) instead of one long private key to secure Moscow voting data.

Three private keys sound better than one private key, right?

After cracking the Moscow system, Gaudry couldn’t explain why ‘cryptography experts’ would be so stupid.

“This is a mystery. The only possible explanation we can think of is that the designers thought this [using 3 private keys] would compensate for the too small key sizes of the primes involved. But 3 primes of 256 bits are really not the same as one prime of 768 bits.”

(I know I’m over-simplifying private keys but it’s important you understand the BIG picture rather than get swamped in the details).

The question is, why would the Russian government purposely choose an inferior encryption method to secure their elections?

The Long-Con continues

Don’t look so innocent Russia! — Image by Khusen Rustamov from Pixabay
  • Are we seriously supposed to believe, a country who used to OWN Estonia and now is completely shut out of their electronic voting system can’t figure out how to secure their own electronic voting?
  • Are we seriously supposed to believe, a country with the technological experience and expertise the Russians currently have, released their code on Github, offered a prize to hackers to hack their new voting system, and got cracked in 20 minutes?

How stupid does Russia think we are?

Secure, blockchain-protected voting, when property encrypted, is tamper-proof.

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Edward Iftody

Written by

Edward Iftody is a Communication Coach, author of Surviving Work, a veteran of the Canadian fin-tech industry and a blockchain enthusiast.

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +788K followers.

Edward Iftody

Written by

Edward Iftody is a Communication Coach, author of Surviving Work, a veteran of the Canadian fin-tech industry and a blockchain enthusiast.

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +788K followers.

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