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Contribution Details

Type Master's Thesis
Scope Discipline-based scholarship
Title Hardware Key Management for a Blockchain-based Remote Electronic Voting System
Organization Unit
  • Andreas Knecht
  • Christian Killer
  • Eder John Scheid
  • English
Institution University of Zurich
Faculty Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics
Date July 2021
Abstract Text Remote Electronic Voting (REV) becomes an increasing topic of interest, since citizens are used to complete many other tasks online. But REV systems need to provide a very high level of security, hindering deployment of adequate solutions. The Communication Systems Group at the University of Zurich implements the REV system Provotum. This thesis explores deployment of a USB dongle in the Remote Electronic Voting (REV) system Provotum to improve security. This work proposes a design centered around a set of 6 - mostly mutually exclusive - functions running on a USB dongle that provide additional protection against theft and selling of private keys, as well as against manipulation by malware on the voter's computer. A USB dongle is selected and all functions are implemented in a firmware running on that dongle, as well as additional system components to constitute a Proof-of-Concept that demonstrates end-to-end integration of the functionality. All finite-field cryptography of the Provotum system (except RSA signatures) is changed to Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) to achieve better firmware runtime performance. The implementation overcomes several challenges that are documented in this work and achieves to o er a strong baseline codebase that facilitates future development of further dongle-enabled Provotum functionality. Additionally, since all proposed dongle functions are implemented in firmware, varying levels of a tradeoff between security and usability can be controlled in the system.
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