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Information technology expert says AES difficult to hack

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By Leslie Ann Aquino

An Information Technology (IT) expert has expressed confidence that the automated election system to be used in the May 13 midterm polls has enough security features.

Retired Ateneo computer science professor Pablo Manalastas of the Philippine Linux Users Group said it would be very difficult for an outsider to hack into the system.

But, he said for an insider it may not be as difficult to hack.

“It is not as difficult to hack into the system if you are a COMELEC insider, or if you are in a group of COMELEC and Smartmatic personnel and you know all the secrecies, you know the passwords, you know the access to the system,” said Manalastas in a press briefing in Manila, Monday.

He said the public just have to have faith that the COMELEC will do its job and have faith in the goodness of man.

Manalastas was among the 66 individuals who participated in the local source code review of the AES.

Another reviewer Alex Ramos of PDP-Laban said they now have a better understanding of the system like how secure it is.

“We saw the transmission location; we saw the decryption code and other codes that are necessary to have a secure operating system. This was never shown to us before,” he said.

That’s why Ramos said candidates should not be misled by those selling technology solutions to win this election as these are not true.

The source code is defined as the human readable instructions that define what the computer equipment will do.

Based on Republic Act No. 9369 the commission shall “promptly make the source code available and open to any interested party or group, which may conduct their own review”.

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