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SpiderOak Security Expert Recommends Blockchain to Protect Elections
[March 15, 2018]

SpiderOak Security Expert Recommends Blockchain to Protect Elections

CHICAGO, March 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- With breaking news of election meddling by the Russians, it's more pressing than ever to make our voting machines hacker resistant, and blockchain technology could be the answer.

"We can dramatically reduce the level of vulnerability of election infrastructure by applying blockchain technology to key areas of possible exposure to hacking. Blockchain provides a means for election-related data to be recorded in a manner that makes it extremely difficult to impossible to alter after being recorded," said Matthew Erickson, director of client services and technology of SpiderOak Inc., a software development and consulting firm specializing in improving businesses security architecture with blockchain technology. "Blockchain uses a decentralized, distributed ledger to record information that cannot be changed without hacking multiple independent systems on the network and overcoming sophisticated types of encryption."

Erickson explains that voting in the United States is a decentralized system. Each state and county have different sets of guidelines and protocols when it comes to collecting and tallying the votes. Each jurisdiction maintains its own registration, management structure and regulations around who votes and how. This strongly decentralized system, combined with the requirement for trust inherent in the election process, points to blockchain technology as a key enabler for quick, efficient and trusted elections in the future.

"Think of the election infrastructure as being a house," he says. "With blockchain-based security in place, there isn't just one lock protecting the house from thieves. In fact, each room of the house is located somewhere else and has its own lock. The precious items inside each room are hidden by barriers (encryptio). Each item is described in an off-site record system with all of that information encrypted, so nothing can be taken without the owners knowing about it. Plus, the authority to add or remove items and enter rooms is not trusted to only one individual with a key. In other words, there is little if any likelihood that the election infrastructure 'house' could be burglarized and attempts to break into any of the individual rooms would be easy to spot."

Blockchain technology also makes it easy to tamper-proof the voter registration ledger by making it clear when data held by it are changed. It also would prove invaluable at poll booths to track when voters appear at polls so that individuals who are voting are registered and to prevent people from voting twice. Manipulation of poll books can occur similarly to the larger registration databases so blockchain can provide comparable protections.

"Currently, our gold standard for collecting votes and counting them are optical-scan voting machines, which utilize ballots completed by hand or by an assistive machine," Erickson said. "The ballots are then scanned to count the votes represented by the ballots. Ballots are stored securely like traditional hand-counted paper ballots, ensuring that voter intent—their votes—is captured properly on a paper audit trail. However, once these votes are scanned into a machine, they're electronically transmitted for counting. Those results are aggregated and transmitted for further counting, and influence can be exerted by hackers at any step along this digital chain."

By uploading voting results through a blockchain as votes are cast, the "hot spots" for tampering precinct and state aggregation machinery are eliminated. All of the voting data are not transmitted in one stream to one location for processing and storage. Data are distributed across the blockchain and encrypted at every level.

"Attackers are greatly expanding their capabilities," said Erickson. "It's not inconceivable that North Korea, Iran or China likely could also make successful attempts to directly influence American elections, and while blockchain-based security isn't the one-stop-shop answer, it certainly can play a central role in securing election technology moving forward."

About SpiderOak Inc.
SpiderOak Inc. is a software development and consulting firm providing mission-critical data and systems security for organizations and individuals. Using the latest and most secure blockchain technology and encryption, paired with identity management, SpiderOak's platform defends client assets, intellectual property and operations against military-grade cyberattacks. Visit for more information.

Contact: Marisa Vallbona, 619-708-7990,


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SOURCE SpiderOak Inc.

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