Russian ISP, Rostelecom has put the source code of Russia’s Remote Online Voting software on GitHub to get hackers and researchers find bugs in it
This may be one of the firsts. Russian Internet service provider, Rostelecom has published the source code of Russian Remote Online Voting software on its GitHub page so that hackers and security researchers can find vulnerabilities and bugs in it.
The Rostelecom’s move comes after widespread criticism of the Russian remote online voting software. Many Russians participating in the recently held remote voting had complained that the software had many bugs. Some even said that the Russian online voting platform could be easily hacked.
To help find bugs and other vulnerabilities, Rostelecom has published the source code on GitHub here. According to Alexander Malkevich from the Public House of the Russian Federation, the publication of the source code was necessitated due to the many concerns by users during the recently held remote elections. “We want to solve some problems at once; First of all, we hope that researchers will help us fix potential vulnerabilities,” Malkevich says.
The source code of Russian online voting software contains three main components:
- Counting servers
- Smart contracts
- Portal front end (including front-end libraries)
Hackers and security researchers may be especially interested in taking a look at the code as the entire voting software is based on blockchain technology. Russian government implemented the blockchain technology because it was tamperproof and had data integrity. “Blockchain technology solves some problems; its main task is to ensure the invariability of information, ensuring the information of each vote, voter lists, encryption keys, and other key aspects,” Malkevich reports.
The remote online voting works by allowing only those Russian voters who have already registered to vote. There is a time limit within which these previously registered voters can vote. Using the blockchain technology, the Russian Federation seeks to ensure confidentiality in the electoral process and to maintain social distancing measures during the coronavirus pandemic. For election observers, the Russian Federation also developed a special tool that allows them to monitor all transactions on the blockchain network in realtime much like how bitcoins move between wallets.
If you want to take a look at how the Russian remote voting system works, head over to Rostelecom GitHub page here. Kindly note that the GitHub page is in Russian.