Feeds

Cops cuff man who exposed holes in 'perfect' voting machines

Expose a vuln, go to jail

Security for virtualized datacentres

Indian authorities have arrested a computer scientist for refusing to divulge the source of an electronic voting machine that he and a team of researchers used to expose holes in the country's election system.

The Hyderabad home of Hari Prasad, managing director of Netindia LTD, was raided on Saturday morning at 5:30 by authorities who questioned him for two and a half hours before taking him into custody, a colleague of his said here. Police then transported him to Mumbai, which is about 14 hours away.

The arrest follows research released in April that disclosed several vulnerabilities in India's electronic voting machines, which authorities have claimed are fully tamper-proof and even perfect. The flaws were discovered on a machine that an anonymous source donated to the research team in February, after elections officials refused to make one available.

“The police did not state a specific charge at the time of the arrest, but it appears to be a politically motivated attempt to uncover our anonymous source,” J. Alex Halderman, one of the members of the team that exposed the vulnerabilities, wrote on Sunday. “The arresting officers told Hari that they were under 'pressure [from] the top,' and that he would be left alone if he would reveal the source's identity.”

In 2009, officials from the Election Commission of India publicly challenged Prasad to prove the machines were flawed but then refused to give him access to one of the devices. The team – which besides Prasad and Halderman also included Rop Gonggrijp – was able to continue with the help of the anonymous source.

“We have every reason to believe that the source had lawful access to the machine and made it available for scientific study as a matter of conscience, out of concern over potential security problems,” Halderman wrote.

In April, the team released this paper (PDF), which identified several hardware-based attacks that insiders with physical access to the machines could use to falsify elections. The paper didn't cover software-based vulnerabilities because the researchers weren't able to extract the code without destroying the device.

Concern has been growing in India about the reliability of e-voting. In April, 13 political parties representing about half of India's electorate wrote to elections officials to express their concerns, according to Indiaevm.com. Earlier this month, more than two dozen scientists and researchers wrote India's chief election commissioner to warn of vulnerabilities in the country's electronic voting machines. A PDF of their letter is here. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.