Dutch Government announced all ballots will be counted by hand amid cyberattack fears

Pierluigi Paganini February 02, 2017

Dutch Government announced that all ballots in the election next month will be counted by hand in order to avoid any interference due to cyber attacks.

Recent US 2016 Presidential Election has given the world an important lesson, foreign hackers are a dangerous threat even for democracy.

Recently Franche Defense Minister Le Drian comments expressed concerns about cyber attacks against defense systems and warned of hacking campaigns on the upcoming elections. European Intelligence agencies are warning the Netherlands, France, and Germany of possible manipulation of their voting systems in the forthcoming elections.

In response to the alarm, all ballots in the Netherlands’ election next month will be counted by hand in order to avoid any interference due to cyber attacks.

“Reports in recent days about vulnerabilities in our systems raise the question of whether the results could be manipulated,” explained Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk in a statement on Wednesday. “No shadow of doubt can be permitted.”

Dutch Government

(Photo credit should read ROBIN UTRECHT/AFP/GettyImages)

The Minister fears cyber attacks from foreign states, including Russia that is one of the most dreaded threats.

“Now there are indications that Russians could be interested, for the following elections we must fall back on good old pen and paper,” he added.

The problem is that the Dutch cast paper votes, which are tallied by hand locally, but the overall count of votes is done through computer systems that could be targeted by hackers. Dutch media highlighted that the software used by the government could be hacked by state-sponsored hackers.

“In an earlier report, RTL had said the tallying software was distributed by CD-ROM to regional counting centers where it was installed on old computers that were internet connected – a procedure that experts consulted by the broadcaster considered highly insecure.” reported the Reuters Agency.

“Plasterk told RTL the vote count should not take longer than normal. Election authorities typically publish a preliminary result on the evening after polls close, which is often very close to the final outcome.”

According to intelligence agencies, Russia could attempt to hack voting systems in Europe for destabilizing right movements, the Kremlin of course is denying any involvement in the recent hacking campaigns against Government organizations worldwide.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Dutch Government, cyber espionage)

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