Netherlands
Experts have warned that the Dutch electoral system is extremely easy to hack Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Voting ballots in the Dutch General Election will be counted by hand as fear grows that Russian hackers may intervene in the outcome.

Cyber security experts have warned that the current software is extremely susceptible to hackers and that "it is irresponsible to continue using a system which carries serious risks for democracy."

Ronald Plasterk, the Minister of Interior, said that the security measure had been taken because the Dutch Government believes the Russians might also show an interest in this election. Russian agents are alleged to have sent stolen emails from the Democratic National Convention to Wikileaks to swing the vote towards Donald Trump.

"We 100% want to avoid this happening." He added that the votes will be counted on a calculator if there are no other options available.

"The average iPad is more secure than the Dutch electoral system," according to Sijmen Ruwhof, who specialises in cyber security in the banking sector.

"The Russians and Chinese can easily mess with the election outcome," hacker Rop Gonggrijp said.

Ronald Plasterk
Ronald Plasterk, Dutch Minister of Interior Martijn Beekman/AFP

Herbert Bos, Professor Systems and Security Networks at the Free University, said: "If my students handed this software in, I would fail them. It is that bad."

The current software has been used to calculate votes since 2009, despite repeated warnings that it is susceptible to hackers. Maarten Engberts, a student from Radboud University, investigated the system's vulnerabilities and presented his findings to the Electoral Commission in 2011. The matter was not investigated any further.

"I was pretty intimidated at the time," Engberts said. "They were more interested in debating the issue than in finding solutions. They kept asking me if my dissertation was being published. It seemed like they were scared of the media picking up on the findings."