Kaspersky Lab has introduced a blockchain-based voting platform designed to protect online voting from tampering.
Developed by the Kaspersky Lab Business Incubator, Polys is a customisable online voting platform for non-commercial organisations, businesses and communities, which uses blockchain technology to secure it through transparent crypto algorithms.
Online voting appeals to many aspects of modern society – such as geographically spread communities, or progressive universities wanting to hear their students’ voices. It also appeals to global NGOs, and municipalities looking for citizen involvement in neighborhood and city-wide decision making.
Vartan Minasyan, head of Investment and Innovation at Kaspersky Lab, said the Kaspersky Lab Business Incubator is keen to support both internal and external teams in developing bright ideas and technologies, which can be implemented in various areas where safety and security are important. “One such area is online voting and, when exploring the possible implementations of blockchain, our team realized that this technology combined with the company’s cybersecurity expertise could solve key problems related to the privacy, transparency and security of online voting,” Minasyan added.
In the modern efficiency-driven, mobile world, various limitations of offline voting have become apparent: it’s expensive, time-consuming and often inaccessible - or at least challenging - for people who aren’t physically present to cast a vote. Online voting can help overcome these challenges, but this brings several uncertainties of its own: how can we secure the process? How can we make sure that our votes aren’t changed or altered by an external or internal party?
Polys is based on smart contracts in Ethereum (sometimes referred to as Blockchain 2.0) which allows ballot verification and vote tallies to be performed in a decentralised manner. The main benefit is that, due to blockchain’s decentralised nature, the accuracy of voting execution can be verified by the network’s participants. The whole voting data is stored not on servers, but in information blocks on the computers of all network participants: to erase it, a hacker would have to breach all the computers and gain access to the individual sets of data. Blockchain also allows a voter to easily check if their vote has been registered correctly and any tampering of votes will automatically become evident. Blockchain transparency makes it easier to monitor votes and complete voting audits by independent parties. It also doesn’t require extra resources or the need for the physical presence of personnel.
In addition, within the Polys voting system, blockchain is encrypted and backed up with mathematical algorithms. These help to ensure anonymity, hide intermediate results and perform calculations on the encrypted data, which is something that can’t be done in other blockchain systems due to its distributed and open nature.
The source code of Polys will be publicly available on GitHub, allowing anyone to test, verify and explore the technology behind it. In addition to the customised platform, there’s also a ready-to-use freemium service that is available for everyone.