German election could be hacked due to 30-year software flaw

Published on: 19 Sep 2017

The upcoming general election in Germany could be exploited by hackers after a security hole used in software to count votes was detected.

Martin Tschirsich, a member of a hacker collective and an IT student from Darmstadt - 22 miles south of Frankfurt, said he was astonished when he discovered the weakness in the 30-year old system that registers voting tallies and transmits them across the country.

This, the hackers claim, presents the chance that a false early result could easily be sent out, prompting chaos and confusion.

Speaking to hessenschau.de, Mr Tschirsich said: “First of all, I thought this can’t be possible. Trust in the election process could be destroyed if the official result was to differ significantly from the preliminary ones.”

He added that he brought the vulnerabilities - which he reckons could have been spotted by “even the most average” IT student - to the attention of the authorities in a bid to protect the democratic process.

Vote iT - the company that runs the software - says it is working to fix the problem.

This vulnerability in the German voting system is particularly sensitive as it comes amidst ongoing claims that the Russian government hacked the 2016 US election.