To test the reliability of its new voting system Switzerland invites hackers to hack into the system and bypass security devices with a reward of 150,000 Swiss francs (132,000 euros). A false election will therefore be held from 25 February to 24 March to allow pirates to manipulate the votes, access them or even disable them. The purpose of the manoeuvre is to bypass security devices to access certain sensitive data and compromise this vote. The amount of the reward will depend on the intrusiveness of each pirate, ranging from CHF 1000 for an intrusion into the online voting system to nearly CHF 50,000 for an undetectable manipulation of the votes.
The Swiss government wants to ensure the security of its electronic voting system because it is regularly called upon for referendums and popular initiatives. In Switzerland, this type of voting has been in the trial phase since 2004 in some cantons (10 of the 26 cantons). Finally, since 2018, the government has launched a procedure to shorten this test phase and make electronic voting “the third voting channel” after voting in the polling stations and by mail.