A realistic Perspective of the Mass EVM Fraud:
In my earlier posts, i just gave a wild prediction of how EVMs could be hacked. And as the discussion goes on further, we get a realistic picture of how this fraud could have happened.
Let me put up my views on such possibilities again.
Insertion of Trojan:
Many people claim that this possibility is low, as the number of persons involved in this process would be high, and that there are possibilities that it might be leaked out. While their point is valid, we can also consider the sivaganga constituency, where the result is changed at the last minute, but the news has been completely blocked. So, even if there is more number of people involved, the news might be prevented from leaking out.
The important stage of this Software hacking process is to insert a trojan code in to the Control Unit software, right at the manufacturing stage. The EC claims that, since the same EVM is used in more than one election, and that the candidate serial number is not known at the time of manufacturing, this trojan software could not be effectively used.
However, this is not a FOOL PROOF method. What the trojan software needs to know is the exact button assigned to the beneficiary party. This button may vary from constituency to constituency. So there may be series of key combinations, to make the software know the button assigned for the particular beneficiary party. For example, if the congress is assigned the 3rd button in a particular constituency, that button is held for a particular time period (say some 30 seconds to 1 minute), in combination with other buttons. By this, the software will come to know of the button assigned to the beneficiary party, and use this for diverting the votes from other parties.
The EC also claims, that the each chip has a unique code assigned, and that replacing with any other chip will make the EVM crash. This is again a vague reasoning, because, it will not be difficult, to manufacture the same chip with same unique number when a determined fraud is happening.
One more claim by the EC is that most of the EVM’s are manufactured long time back. But that doesnt explain the possibility of replacing the chip with another identical one, just before this election.
Embedding of Minute Wireless Transmitter/ Receiver in EVM Chip:
Most of the technical persons might be aware of the rapid advancement of Nano Technology, where the size of the electronic componenet is highly miniaturised. Today is the era of embedding everything in to single chip. And i strongly raise the this question; Why dont the Controlling Unit of the EVM’s be embedded with a wireless transmitter/receiver, for remote access?
The embedding of wireless Transmitter/Receiver inside the control Unit of the EVM machine is highly possible, and can be done without being detected. I believe, this form of manipulating EVMs through remote control is indeed the most sophisticated, easier, and advanced way to manipulate the results accurately.
For those, who are rejecting this very idea, please refer the following article in BBC.
The above news is about a HP chip, that stores 100’s of pages, and transmitts them via wireless, using bluetooth or other Radio Frequency.
And can you believe the size of that chip?
So, its entirely possible to embed such a wireless transmitter/receiver inside the control circuit of the EVM’s, and they can be controlled from any part of the world.
Before, i move on, please read the following articles too.
A full fledged bluetooth wireless featured embedded in a single chip. (antennas, transmitter, receiver, all within chip).
Another HP article, that describes about the minute wireless chip that they had designed.
An article in 2002, reporting about a wireless feature embedded within a chip.
A quote at the end of the above article, would give a brief idea on use of embedded wireless devices.
“In other potential applications, the military has expressed interest in pairing wireless chips with tiny sensors such as microphones. The idea is to drop thousands or even hundreds of thousands of these devices in a region to eavesdrop over a wide area. The chips would form a listening network by themselves, and the military monitor the system as needed.”
when a tiny wireless chip is dropped in hundreds to eavesdrop, it means, the chip is capable of transmitting data back to the control station. This point is very important and has to be noted to understand the issue further.
Nano Technology in US Military:
How the EVMs Could have been manipulated through remote control:
To discuss this possible scenario, We need to assume that the wireless transmitter/emitter had been embedded in right at the manufacturing of the Chip itself. (Note: THe chip manufacturing happens at a different place, well before EVM production)
There is a unique ID assigned to each EVM, and each of the EVM could be contacted separately, using this unique ID.
Can such a wireless component be detected or traced?
- The wireless componenet in a chip, cannot be detected, unless, it transmits or emits signals. The Chip might have been programmed to transmit data only upon receiving certain command through specific frequency. In this case, the receiver component might be in listen mode, waiting for a particular command, known only to a core expert group. So, in a normal circumstance, this wireless component will be in hidden mode.
Can the architecture of the CHIP be verified?
- To my knowledge, a chip’s internal circuitry cannot be verified after it is manufactured. In our case, the expert committee had verified only the approved architecture for use in production. However, it doesnt gaurantee, that all the Chips manufactured there are as per the original design.
- The current architecture might have been obtained by the hackers, and additional wireless component introduced, and this new modified architecture might be produced at some different place and then used during the assembly of EVMs.
- The size, apperance, and even the Unique ID of the Chip would be emulated as it is, and thus it is extremely difficult to verify, if the current Chip components used is indeed the original one.
The EVMs are all despatched to the respective constituencies, and the high level “Rigging / hacking team”, will ensure that the EVM’s with wireless component is delievered to the appropriate constituency.
Now, the election would be conducted regularly, and the EVMs are stored in a highly secured location in each constituency.
Now, the core hacking team comes in to picture. We know that there are two days b/w last phase of voting and counting. In that time interval, the following is possible.
- Using specially designed device, the core hacking team, can connect to each of the EVM’s through satellite connection, and obtain the voting data in to its computer. This is possible, since each EVM has a unique ID, and using that ID, they can connect to each and every EVM accurately.
- All the data would be downloaded to a computer, according to EVM’s.
- Now, in the selected constituencies, the votes are adjusted in each EVM’s used there, to increase the tally of the ruling party. Suppose, if there are 1500 boths in a constituency, and each booth having 1000 voters, with an average voting of 750 votes. If we could adjust, atleast 50 votes in each booth, it comes around 45,000 votes in all the 1500 booths. And this 50 votes need not be taken from any single party. For example, in a particular constituency, 20 votes from ADMK, 10 votes from DMDK, 5 votes from 4 other small parties/candidates, will total 50 votes. And these small adjustments are extremely difficult to detect and prove.
- After the adjustments, these data could be uploaded to the corresponding EVMs automatically through an appropriate devices.
- To give a familiar view of this process, its possible, to download all the data in an excel sheet along with EVM ID, adjust the values, and then upload these data back to the EVM, from this excel sheet itself. This is very much possible. Through automation, any number of EVMs could be manipulated in a short time.
we have seen how the remote controlling of EVM’s can be done by a small group of 5 to 10 expert group. I cannot prove that this is what could have happened, but i am pointing out, that this is largely possible, with current technological advancement, no matter, what amount of safegaurds we have.
Imagine, if atleast 25% of the EVMs are embedded with such wireless component, the result can be manipulated in atleast 25% of the constituencies. That comes around 136 constituencies of india, where the results can be adjusted remotely from anywhere in the world. THis is not a small number to ignore.
What the political Parties (Mainly the opposition parties) can do now?
First of all, it would be difficult to prove that a rigging has been happened, because of the secrecy of the votes. The political parties can analyse the voting patter in the booth where they are strong, and then take a mock survey.
The next thing is that the opposition parties can fight to ban use of EVMs in the coming elections, and return to paper ballot mechanism. This is very important, and can be argued strongly, citing the numerous possibility of hacking electronic devices. Also, the possibility of Rigging elections on a mass scale, like use of automated software, wireless technology etc, undermines the very purpose of election. In Paper Ballot, although some amount of rigging take place, it cannot be done at a mass scale secretly.
And if the parties fail to do that, then Indian elections would always be a “Match Fixing”. The parties will continue to spend large amount of money and effort in fighting elections, and atlast lose the elections, without being aware that a core group would sit inside an A/C room (either in Delhi or in Newyork), and manipulate the results to make a particular party to win.
For those who dont accept, or reject this as non-sense, i can confidently bet, that in the current world of electronics, Nothing is impossible.
Imagine, if the US could detect the location of Osama Bin Laden, through his cell phone signals, its not Impossible to remote control the EVM’s through satellite.
PS: The US and Britain had a direct stake in the current indian election, mainly because of the nuclear deal they had done. They can get the full co-operation (or perhaps, the servitude, slavery and subjugation) only from the congress party, and that they had the larger interest in making congress win. So, we cannot neglect the role of the US, in architecting such a large hi-fi election rigging, using a small core group of hackers.