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EVM Tampering Row: Rohit Tripathy an Ethical Hacker Completely Exposed the Drama of AAP

Rohit Tripathy an Ethical Hacker updated a post on his Facebook timeline on EVM Tampering which Completely exposes the Drama of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his party member Saurabh Bhardwaj.

Read the full post here:

Since I started my career as an ethical hacker with Ernst & Young, I think I can make a comment on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) hacking controversy.

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An EVM is nothing but a counting machine which tabulates how many button presses were done for 16 different buttons. Nothing more. The button presses are done at what the designers call Balloting Unit, and counting of those button presses are done in Counting unit.

The balloting unit is where you press your button and you can couple 4 of 16 button panels to create 64 candidate counting capacity per machine. It is connected with a cable to another separate box, the counting unit, which houses the electronic circuitry and display for each button. When election happens, the name/symbol of different candidates are pasted against those buttons, and depending upon number of button presses, the total votes for a candidate is counted and displayed by counting units.

There is no networking between different EVMs, so the process of computing grand totals between all EVMs is manually done.

The only logic in this whole scheme sits in the counting unit, and the software is hard coded into an one time writable electronic chip called Internal Mask ROM. We will simply call it ROM here after.

There is only one way to hack this. That is to change the ROM in the machine before voting, with another malicious ROM which can do double or triple counting for some buttons, totally ignore counts for some other buttons, or reassign presses to a different button. There is no other way to hack this. There are two other rewritable memory chips that store the vote data (Its called EEPROM). But even to hack EEPROM, you got to replace the core ROM.

Now the best of the computer in the world can be hacked if the physical possession of the computer is given to hacker. Thats why when we used to advise our clients against hacking, the first thing we would say .. protect physical access to those computers. If physical access is compromised, then every other anti-hacking protection is of no use.

In EVM case, there is no networking. So there is no central point of hacking. Also these machines are not on internet. So internet based hacking cannot happen. You got to go to each machine in person one by one, and change the ROM.

So to hack this, the hacker has to buy the exact chip with exact motherboard circuit before hand. He also needs to lay his hands over an original voting machine, figure a way out to read entire memory content of the ROM which will be some garbled junk. And then solve the puzzle of figuring out correct instructions from garbled junk. And then create his malicious instruction set. Then go back to chip manufacturer to rewrite the bad data back into the new hacked chip. (As the chip is non standard, you cannot write it in your home. You need access to manufacturer’s machine). This process needs to be duplicated for every hacked chip separately (as many the hacker wants).

The next task is to go and somehow replace the hacked motherboards into each EVM separately.

Every EVM has a maximum capacity of 2000 votes only. If the hacker can do all the steps written above for each EVM, he can influence 2000 votes at a time.

To influence 2000 votes in my opinion, its much easier to bribe the counting officer, and have 2000 extra added to your name instead of trying to get ROM replaced. Just my opinion.

13 comments

  1. now ARvind proves himself that he neither attended IIT nor wrote the exams. Some one should examine his IIT certificate first.

  2. Varghese samuel

    Absolutely on the dot. The political parties are creating ruckus. Diverting attention from their failures.

  3. @ArvindKejriwal,

    This is for you! Focus your brains and energy on better things, leave the hacking for the professionals.

  4. Wow, wow, wow!

  5. Dear that is what AAP is telling. It is a very sophisticated organised crime where EVMs are tempered through changing software.
    It is possible as in India organized crime, govt involvement is not impossible.

    By bribing counting officer is difficult as for this you need to bribe many persons which is not confidential.
    But doing it in an organized manner where few maintenance people can be bribed is easier.

    Very correct explanation given by you. Only thing is you have to consider corruption level of the country.

  6. But I am sure that Kejrival has some super hackers like Bharadwaj, who must have had great experience in EVM hacking by some other easy manner. They must have gained that experience when they won 67 of the 70 seats in last Delhi elections. Hence, I think EC should agree to give them say, ten EVMs and ask them to hack them within a given time in front of the judges and media, especially like NDTV etc. If they succeed, EC should agree to replace EVMs by ballot papers and if they fail, debar AAP from contesting elections till Kejriwal is its super boss.

  7. Better to give opportunity to AAP for proving their point. So that the matter is settled once for all

  8. Shame on Kejriwal. We did not expect this cheap thinking from him

  9. good Tripathi ji, he is indirectly telling all EC personals are corrupt, i condemn his
    observation about EVM tempering. it is good idea
    to use VVPAT to overcome such type of
    foolish statement by some alike persons.
    i believe in our EC, they are doing great job.

  10. Janardan tiwary

    Rohit Tripathy is a genius in ethical hacking.. Cyber world recognises his talent. What he has written is a technical masterpiece. Technology has nothing to do with politics. It is a pity that institution like Election commission is being unfairly attacked by politicians like Mayawati.. Akhilesh.. Arvind kejriwal et al.. I remember sheshan.. Jyoti Basu.. May his soul rest in piece.. Called him mad man.. Technology has nothing to do with politics of opportunism and convenience… Arvind kejriwal and company must apologise to country for making wild allegations on EVM tampering.. Youth is agitated and furious on AAP.

  11. Kejriwal and team is nothing less than a team of joker’s/chokers. The Delhites would be cursing their ownselves for allotting the management of Delhi to this stupid idiot. Kejriwal could’ve done good for Delhi and thereafter for India but it has lost its way/direction. God bless the people of Delhi and Thank you, God for alerting the rest of the country well in advance to forget voting to AAP.

  12. Kujliwal exposed as always. Some suggested to give evm for testing. …. tomorrow these aapstards will say to change the whole constitution bcos there r many flaws in it…. kindly understand these aapstards r anarchist n will do nothing but disturb the system.

  13. Its like you read my thoughts! You appear to understand a lot approximately this, such as you wrote the guide in it or something. I believe that you could do with some p.c. to drive the message home a little bit, however instead of that, this is excellent blog. A great read. I’ll definitely be back.

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