Published on 06 May 2013 Written by Van Suarez Reporter

INTERNAL tampering, not hacking, is the biggest threat to the credibility of the May 13 elections, according to former Commission on Elections commissioner Augusto “Gus” Lagman.

Lagman said the automated system to be used when the country goes to polls next week, particularly the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines, is vulnerable to internal tampering.

“Don’t worry about the external threat of hacking because hackers can only connect to communication lines by only a few minutes which is not enough time.

Truth is, it will take days to hack into a system,” Lagman said. “External hacking, to me, is not an issue. It’s the tampering by an insider that I am worried about because it is highly possible, it can be done,” he said during a roundtable discussion with editors of The Manila Times and other media representatives.

Lagman urged the Comelec to be on alert for unscrupulous people with access to the passwords of the system because they can easily change the results of the elections.

“There is the danger of automated cheating, which, if done by an insider, is easier and more effective than cheating in the manual system,” he warned.

The former poll official lamented that Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes refused to listen to well-meaning suggestions of concerned sectors about the flaws of the automated system.

“He (Brillantes) always insists that he is a lawyer and therefore, more knowledgeable than those who dared criticize his moves,” Lagman said.

He said Comelec officials and poll watchdogs should also monitor the Compact Flash (CF) cards because these can also be a source of cheating.

“It is possible to change the contents of the CF cards. So I suggest that there must be two CF cards for every PCOS machine, one should be the back up of the other,” he said.

He said that manipulation of CF cards can drastically change the results of the elections.

He cited the cases of former Biliran Rep.Glen Chong who lost to Rep. Rogelio Espina in 2010, and former governors Josie dela Cruz of Bulacan and Grace Padaca of Isabela.

De la Cruz and Padaca filed electoral protests against their opponents but the Comelec later ruled that both women have abandoned their cases when they accepted positions in government, de la Cruz as postmaster general and Padaca as commissioner of the poll body.

Lagman said the discovery of CF cards in a garbage dump in Cagayan de Oro in 2010 proves the ease by which the cards could be stolen. Even the PCOS machines can be stolen, he added, citing the stashing of 60 PCOS machines in the house of a Smartmatic technician in Antipolo City, Rizal province right after the elections.

“There are many stories going around today about offers of sure wins through manipulated results. Truly, Smartmatic’s system is very vulnerable to internal tampering,” he added.

Transparency
Another problem of the automated poll system is its lack of transparency.

“We don’t know if our ballots were read properly and our votes counted accurately. There was no source code review, as mandated by law. Despite requests, public documents were also not made available to stakeholders. The incomplete data in Comelec’s public web¬site made it next to impossible to check the accuracy of canvassing. The Comelec has been very secretive about its plans and how it is implementing them,” Lagman said.

He added that because of the use of PCOS machines, voters have to wrestle with long and expensive ballots.

“The secrecy of the voting is compromised because of the very long ballot.

Now that the Comelec has bought the machines, it also has to worry about their expensive warehousing,” he said.

To address the possible problems that may arise on election day, Lagman said the Comelec should shift to its contingency plan.

“I hope it includes the transparent manual precinct counting; electronic transmission; and automated canvassing. There is still time for this, but they should not delay it, then later say (again!) that it’s too late,” he said.

http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/news/headlines-mt/46997-pcos-open-to-internal-tampering

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5 COMMENTS

  1. BE VIGILANT GUYS ALWAYS. THEY ARE NOW USING ALL POSSIBLE MEANS TO WIN THIS COMING ELECTION. SABI PA NGA NYA “PERA LANG ANG KATAPAT YAN”

  2. INTERNAL TAMPERING!!!..pildihon jud moh bsag unsa nman lah eu plusot..tarunga jud neu ug bantay ky bsin khuman election muadto nah sad na si glen sa manila mag pa interview na sad sa media nga gilimbungan naH SAD..sum ol kaau nang nawong nimo gleen ngadto nlang sah rainbow ba pagslide2x didto enjoy pah ka..promise INTERNAL TAMPER im 100% sure peldi jud moh kron election..

  3. NATAMPER NA GYUD DIAY ANG PCOS.

    MGA KAPAL, KUBALAN UG NAWONG.

    KURAKOT NGA KWARTA GIPALAMON SA PAMILYA.

    LIWAT SA TIGRE NGA ALAGA SA AMO.

  4. klaro man gyud bisan sa election 2010 nga wala nay gusto ang kadaghanan sa mga espina,mao bitaw gamay ra gipamalit ug boto kay nag salig sa hukos pcos diba,sentedo common nala.malo pana maka ingun gayud sila nga PERA LANG KATAPAT SA TAGA BILIRAN,

  5. yes, its true. hacking the PCOS from the outside will be very hard. dili na sama sa ordinary computer or server nga online pirme. it only goes online when transmitting election results. maglisod pa gani na pag connect kay ang data packet ana dependent sa available bandwidth sa telco og sa sat depende sa location. so personnally i don’t worry about hacking. duha lang ang ako gikabalak-an 1) internal tampering og 2) data transmission hijacking. the second one is already known to us. ang PCOS dili ka transmit sa result because another PCOS already transmitted the results earlier. Its a protocol sa mga servers to only accept the first data transmission. technically magamit sab ni mga technique pagpuli sa image file sa transmitting PCOS with the one earlier transmitted so that walay makitang discrepancy sa audit logs. kung mahitabo ni the only way to find out the true result is to conduct manual count. Piro this will take a long period of time og dakog chance mapulihan ang mga balota to become consistent with the image file. FYI.

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