The Voatz blockchain app that was responsible for the voting process in West Virginia is now under investigation by the FBI after being ‘unsuccessfully hacked.’’ Let’s find out more about this information in the blockchain latest news today.
After securing $7 million in funding to expand its blockchain voting app, Voatz is on shaky ground now as the FBI started the investigation. The midterm elections are also under investigation after the app was hacked. The secretary of state of West Virginia Andrew Warner confirmed at a press conference on Oct.1 that ‘’someone’’ tired to hack the Voatz app right when the elections took place. The attack was reportedly unsuccessful but it had a slight impact, enough to raise the FBI’s concerns about the legality of the elections. Warner stated:
‘’In last year’s election, we detected activity that may have been an attempt to penetrate West Virginia’s mobile voting process. No penetration occurred and the security protocols to protect our election process worked as designed. The IP addresses from which the attempts were made have been turned over to the FBI for investigation. The investigation will determine if crimes were committed.’’
144 voters from West Virginia used the blockchain-based smartphone Voatz app to cast their votes. Although it seems like a small number, in tight races it could be enough to balance the score in favor of one of the candidates. For example, in West Virginia, four seats in the House of Delegates were won by less than 150 votes. This is not the first time that the Voatz app was used in elections. Both Utah and Denver used it for their municipal and primary elections. However, the researchers say that the concerns emerge over various issues. One of the issues is the lack of willingness from the company to cooperate with the investigators.
While the app requires multifactor authentication and claims to use a paper trail as a backup, it seems like the voters are unable to verify the printout. There is also the fact that electronic voting is a massive target for hackers. Voatz may be more secure than voting via email but the company’s lack of transparency over its processes is very concerning as well. The democratic candidate for the 2020 presidential race Andrew Yang called blockchain voting ‘’essential’’ as we previously read in the crypto news. However, this hack attack makes it even less likely that this technology will be used in any way in elections.
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