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Auditing for privacy in threshold PKE e-voting

Auditing for privacy in threshold PKE e-voting PurposeThis paper aims to investigate the importance of auditing for election privacy via issues that appear in the state-of-the-art implementations of e-voting systems that apply threshold public key encryption (TPKE) in the client such as Helios and use a bulletin board (BB).Design/methodology/approachArgumentation builds upon a formal description of a typical TPKE-based e-voting system where the election authority (EA) is the central node in a star network topology. The paper points out the weaknesses of the said topology with respect to privacy and analyzes how these weaknesses affect the security of several instances of TPKE-based e-voting systems. Overall, it studies the importance of auditing from a privacy aspect.FindingsThe paper shows that without public key infrastructure (PKI) support or – more generally – authenticated BB “append” operations, TPKE-based e-voting systems are vulnerable to attacks where the malicious EA can act as a man-in-the-middle between the election trustees and the voters; hence, it can learn how the voters have voted. As a countermeasure for such attacks, this work suggests compulsory trustee auditing. Furthermore, it analyzes how lack of cryptographic proof verification affects the level of privacy that can be provably guaranteed in a typical TPKE e-voting system.Originality/valueAs opposed to the extensively studied importance of auditing to ensure election integrity, the necessity of auditing to protect privacy in an e-voting system has been mostly overlooked. This paper reveals design weaknesses present in noticeable TPKE-based e-voting systems that can lead to a total breach of voters’ privacy and shows how auditing can be applied for providing strong provable privacy guarantees. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Information and Computer Security Emerald Publishing

Auditing for privacy in threshold PKE e-voting

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References (45)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
2056-4961
DOI
10.1108/ICS-07-2016-0056
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeThis paper aims to investigate the importance of auditing for election privacy via issues that appear in the state-of-the-art implementations of e-voting systems that apply threshold public key encryption (TPKE) in the client such as Helios and use a bulletin board (BB).Design/methodology/approachArgumentation builds upon a formal description of a typical TPKE-based e-voting system where the election authority (EA) is the central node in a star network topology. The paper points out the weaknesses of the said topology with respect to privacy and analyzes how these weaknesses affect the security of several instances of TPKE-based e-voting systems. Overall, it studies the importance of auditing from a privacy aspect.FindingsThe paper shows that without public key infrastructure (PKI) support or – more generally – authenticated BB “append” operations, TPKE-based e-voting systems are vulnerable to attacks where the malicious EA can act as a man-in-the-middle between the election trustees and the voters; hence, it can learn how the voters have voted. As a countermeasure for such attacks, this work suggests compulsory trustee auditing. Furthermore, it analyzes how lack of cryptographic proof verification affects the level of privacy that can be provably guaranteed in a typical TPKE e-voting system.Originality/valueAs opposed to the extensively studied importance of auditing to ensure election integrity, the necessity of auditing to protect privacy in an e-voting system has been mostly overlooked. This paper reveals design weaknesses present in noticeable TPKE-based e-voting systems that can lead to a total breach of voters’ privacy and shows how auditing can be applied for providing strong provable privacy guarantees.

Journal

Information and Computer SecurityEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 13, 2017

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