A breach in the electronic voting system, discovered during tests between 2017 and 2018, according to UOL, made the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) invest in the purchase of the supercomputer that stalled and delayed the counting of the results of the municipal elections, last Sunday (15).
According to the publication, this loophole was found by experts from the Federal Police (PF) while they participated in public security tests in the Electoral Justice system. These assessments take place every two years, with the presence of specialists who try to hack the electronic ballot box and discover possible flaws in the equipment.
After the 2018 tests, experts warned of the existence of a loophole and recommended a change in the sum of votes system, which at the time relied on servers installed in each of Brazil’s 27 Regional Electoral Courts (TREs). The suggestion given was to centralize the count in just one machine, installed in Brasília.
According to a PF report, the exchange would reduce the number of possible attack targets from 27 points of vulnerability to just one, strengthening the security of the entire system. Regarding this loophole, the TSE did not provide further details, limiting itself to informing that it was not exploited by hackers.
Supercomputer cost R $ 26 million
Following the recommendation, TSE acquired Oracle’s Exadata X8 supercomputer, which cost R $ 26.2 million. However, the equipment purchased in March was only received in August, shortly before the election, preventing the performance of all necessary performance tests.
With the large volume of data received after the counting of votes began, the machine’s artificial intelligence algorithm “choked”, since it had only been trained with an empty database, until then. The solution was as simple as possible: turn the computer off and on again.
After the device was restarted, the AI functioned as expected and counted the votes normally.