Smartmatic assures: PCOS machines impenetrable to hacking
The company behind the precinct count optical scanner (PCOS) machines has assured the public that it has laid out the necessary safeguards to ensure that the counting machines will not be prone to hacking in the 2016 polls.
Smartmatic-TMI representative Marlon Garcia said that it will take a hacker 10 years to successfully hack a single PCOS machine and alter the results of the elections, even if one is knowledgeable about the source code of a machine.
Garcia said that on election day, the PCOS machines will only be connected to a private network through a mode during the transmission of the results. The process of transmission will only take two minutes at most and then the modem will be turned off.
“The source code has encryptions in itself in all levels. The machines are always offline have been ‘hardened.’ These will be connected to a network where [the machines] can be connected two minutes tops so it is impossible [for these to be hacked]to hacking,” Garcia told reporters.
“Hacking one machine will take 10 years, depending on your computer’s power. A single machine has a different encryption key. You will have to [hack] every single machine. Imagine the [hacker’s] effort,” he said.
Garcia said that Smartmatic is confident on the impenetrability of its system and its machines, and that since it started operations, no hacking attempt has been recorded.
“We have been in the business for more than 15 years, and so far, nobody has been able to hack the system and there has been no record of hack attempts. We cannot be overly confident. We always put the security measures required. In every election, we change our security features. So if any person finds out [about] the previous implementation, it becomes useless by next election,” he added.
Garcia issued the statement during the public review of the source code for 2016 elections held at the De La Salle University in Manila.
The Commission on Elections has awarded the Venezuelan-based Smartmatic a P1.7 billion contract to lease new optical mark readers.
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