EC's challenge: Break used EVMs on June 3
Confident that electronic voting machines (EVMs) cannot be tampered with, the Election Commission has decided to offer an opportunity to political parties to crack the EVMs on June 3. The apex poll panel has also set seven basic conditions for the political parties willing to take part in the scheduled hackathon and prove their contention that the EVMs used in the February-March assembly elections were tampered with.
Defending strongly the foolproof mechanism of voting machines, Chief Election Commission (CEC) Nasim Zaidi said, "The EVMs cannot be hacked as these are standalone machines and not connected to the Internet or any other network. One can tamper with it only after getting full access to the machine, which is next to impossible as the security measures by the poll panel are fool-proof."
The parties would have to pick the EVMs from the EC's warehouses in Delhi at their own cost and if a party fails to report at the allotted time without prior intimation or approval, they won't be allowed to participate as their challenge will stand cancelled, the EC statement said.
Ruling out re-programming of the machines, the CEC said that the EVMs are fitted with OTP chips and code tampering by the chip manufacturer is also not possible as it will get caught during the code integrity check. He further stressed that hacking of machines cannot be done by using external devices such as Bluetooth or through radio frequency transmission or reception or wireless communication.
The chief election commissioner made it clear that any modified EVM would not be usable even if someone is able to hypothetically by-pass security arrangements and modify the machines.
"The EVMs are stored in a strong room in the presence of political parties. These EVMs are escorted back to the strong room post-poll and stored under 24x7 security. Besides security personnel, the EVMs are also being 'guarded' by representatives of political parties. So under the given circumstances, how could one tamper with it?" an EC official said.
The EC, in its directive, has stated that the challenge to hack EVMs is open for only those national and regional parties that took part in the recently concluded Assembly elections and each party can appoint three people each to crack the machines.