US scientists hack into India's EVMs, expose flaws NEW YORK: Indiaâ€™s electronic voting machines (EVMs) with chips made in Japan and the US were designed to stop fraud and accelerate the voting process, but computer scientists say these paperless machines are vulnerable to fraud. Professor J Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan and his computer science students say they were able to hack into the EVMs to manipulate results. Halderman, who led the seven-month research project, with a security researcher from the Netherlands and Hyderabadâ€™s NetIndia, said a home-made device allowed them to change results on anEVM by sending it wireless messages from a mobile phone. â€œAlmost every component of this system could be attacked to manipulate election results,â€ said Halderman. â€œThis proves, once again, that the paperless class of voting systems has intrinsic security problems. It is hard to envision systems like this being used responsibly in elections.â€ A video on the Internet by the researchers shows two kinds of attacks. One attack involves replacing a small part of theEVM with a look-alike component that can be silently instructed to steal a percentage of votes in favour of a candidate. The instructions can be sent from a mobile phone. â€œOur lookalike display board intercepts the vote totals that the machine is trying to display and replaces them with dishonest totals â€” basically whatever the bad guy wants to show up at the end of the election,â€ Halderman told reporters. Another attack uses a pocket-sized microprocessor to change the votes stored in theEVMs between the election and the public counting session, which in India can be weeks later. India uses roughly 1.4 millionEVMs in 829,000 polling stations in a general election and they are of the direct recording electronic (DRE) variety. TheEVMs record votes to the machineâ€™s internal memory and provide no paper records for any recount. The researchers said that with DRE machines too much â€œabsolute trustâ€ is placed in the hardware and software of theEVMs. Rop Gonggrijp, a security researcher from the Netherlands, who participated in the study, slammed the paperless electronic voting system. â€œThe research shows the longstanding scientific consensus holds true â€” DRE voting machines are fundamentally vulnerable. The machines have been abandoned in Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Florida and many other places. India should follow suit,â€ he said. The researchers have offered to share their findings with Indiaâ€™s Election Commission.