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Central Election Committee to protect electronic voting system from foreign interference

June 17, 2014, 13:32 UTC+3 MOSCOW
At the latest parliamentary and presidential elections, 1,800 hacking attacks on CEC’s website were registered with all being repelled
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© ITAR-TASS/Alexandra Mudrats

MOSCOW, June 17. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Central Election Committee (CEC) has made a decision to revise the software used in the state automated electronic vote-counting system in view of certain risks it may be manipulated from abroad, CEC Chairman Vladimir Churov said.

Under the current legislation, the vote-counting system is a local network not linked to networks open to general users. However, its software is unable to operate within local networks without systematically contacting the Internet. As a result of error accumulation, the software may fail at a certain point.

Churov warned that if the system is left as it is, the system will be prone to remote control from outside the country. He instructed the federal IT centre to present proposals for the next cycle of the voting system’s operation not later than September 14 — the forthcoming single election day in Russia.

“We cannot afford to permit Russia’s elections to be remotely controlled,” he said.

The IT system of vote counting is used for running the election process — from planning and keeping lists of voters to the processing of returns. For the first time it was used in the State Duma election in 1995. It has undergone fundamental upgrade since. The special multi-media network created for it incorporates over 3,000 IT facilities across the nation and uses satellite and digital communication channels.

At the latest parliamentary and presidential elections, 1,800 hacking attacks on CEC’s website were registered. All were repelled.

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