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Saturday, April 02, 2016

How to Hack an Election

Andrés Sepúlveda rigged elections throughout Latin America for almost a decade.

It was just before midnight when Enrique Peña Nieto declared victory as the newly elected president of Mexico. Peña Nieto was a lawyer and a millionaire, from a family of mayors and governors. His wife was a telenovela star. He beamed as he was showered with red, green, and white confetti at the Mexico City headquarters of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which had ruled for more than 70 years before being forced out in 2000. Returning the party to power on that night in July 2012, Peña Nieto vowed to tame drug violence, fight corruption, and open a more transparent era in Mexican politics.

Two thousand miles away, in an apartment in Bogotá’s upscale Chicó Navarra neighborhood, Andrés Sepúlveda sat before six computer screens. Sepúlveda is Colombian, bricklike, with a shaved head, goatee, and a tattoo of a QR code containing an encryption key on the back of his head. On his nape are the words “
” and “” stacked atop each other, dark riffs on coding. He was watching a live feed of Peña Nieto’s victory party, waiting for an official declaration of the results.

When Peña Nieto won, Sepúlveda began destroying evidence. He drilled holes in flash drives, hard drives, and cell phones, fried their circuits in a microwave, then broke them to shards with a hammer. He shredded documents and flushed them down the toilet and erased servers in Russia and Ukraine rented anonymously with Bitcoins. He was dismantling what he says was a secret history of one of the dirtiest Latin American campaigns in recent memory.

For eight years, Sepúlveda, now 31, says he traveled the continent rigging major political campaigns. With a budget of $600,000, the Peña Nieto job was by far his most complex. He led a team of hackers that stole campaign strategies, manipulated social media to create false waves of enthusiasm and derision, and installed spyware in opposition offices, all to help Peña Nieto, a right-of-center candidate, eke out a victory. On that July night, he cracked bottle after bottle of Colón Negra beer in celebration. As usual on election night, he was alone.

Read more here


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting Joe. Despite this and many other proven examples of vote tampering most people still deny that this is happening. Such good little sheep.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting & very scary!

Anonymous said...

A commando. Not a comforting thought that there are more.

Steve Horner said...

After reading this story and others dealing with election fraud, it`s an uneasy thought that most politicians aren`t in favor of voter I.D.`s along with checks and balances in elections.

lmclain said...

A politician standing up for "right" or "honest" or "open and transparent"?
You might as well wait for a fly to evolve into an elephant.
This guy rigged (and WON) several elections on a budget of $600,000.
What do you think BILLIONAIRES can do in the USA????
You don't think ANY bad things that happen in other countries, under the same circumstances. or anything that happened in history to other countries in the same situation, could EVER happen here.
Thankfully, you will be the first to go.....