Switzerland launched Thursday a challenge to hackers who will succeed in hacking its new generation of electronic voting system, with the key to a reward totaling 150,000 Swiss francs (132,000 euros). The Federal Chancellery indicates that a false ballot will be organized from February 25 to March 24 and invites computer geniuses wishing to exercise their talents to register on the site https://onlinevote-pit.ch. They could ” attempt to manipulate votes, read votes cast, violate the secrecy of the ballot and disable or bypass security devices that protect both votes and data inherent in security ”, she said in a statement.
The amount of the reward will depend on the intrusion capacity of each hacker. The jackpot, 50,000 Swiss francs, will go to whoever manages to manipulate votes in an undetectable way. Violating the secrecy of the vote will be rewarded with 10,000 Swiss francs, while whoever destroys the electronic ballot box will receive 5,000 Swiss francs. The Swiss authorities intend by this appeal to ensure the security of the electronic voting system.
Regularly solicited by referendums and popular initiatives which form the basis of Swiss democracy, the vast majority of Swiss voters prefer to vote several weeks in advance by correspondence and increasingly by e-mail, although some voting are open for a few hours on polling days. Electronic voting in Switzerland has been in the trial phase since 2004 in certain cantons, the latter being responsible for organizing the polls. Since then, a total of 15 cantons have allowed some of their voters to vote electronically in more than 300 successful trials, according to Berne.
Currently, 10 of the 26 cantons still offer electronic voting in the trial phase. But the government launched at the end of 2018 a procedure to end this testing phase and ” make electronic voting the third voting channel ”. This procedure should last at least two years.