Switzerland to give up to $50,000 to anyone who hacks e-voting system

Published 14.02.2019 00:00
Updated 14.02.2019 20:29

The government of Switzerland will give up to $50,000 to any hacker who can detect vulnerabilities in the country's e-voting system, and has budgeted 150,000 Swiss Francs ($149,000) for the volunteer hackers.

With this initiative, the government aims to test the reliability of an online voting system in hopes of expanding its use to two-thirds of its 26 cantons by October.

The Swiss Post system will hold a dummy election between Feb. 25 and March 24. "White hat" hackers will have to register online to take part in the electoral simulation called "Public Intrusion Test," in which they will be given the opportunity to detect the system's vulnerabilities.

Hackers will receive between 30,000 CHF ($29,850) and 50,000 CHF ($49,748) for manipulating votes in an undetectable way, while those who manipulate votes in a way detectable by trusted auditors will be given 20,000 CHF ($19,899).

Hackers who can hack the system and violate voter secrecy, or infiltrate servers and expose applications that could not be tracked will also receive prices with lower amounts.

Switzerland has been trying to develop an online voting system in order to increase accessibility, especially for overseas voters. Overseas voters have lobbied for an online system, complaining that the mail system is unreliable due to frequent delays.

Other countries, such as France and the U.K., have looked into online voting but opted against it over concerns of vote manipulation.

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