Feeds

Hacker almost derailed Mandela election in South Africa

Right-wing key-puncher tried to hang on to apartheid, says new book

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

An unidentified voting system hacker almost derailed South Africa's first democratic elections.

Only a backup paper ballot system saved the historic 1994 election from sabotage, according to a new book from Peter Harris, the former head of the official election monitoring division. The hacking attempt involved trying to boost the count for right wing parties that wanted to retain apartheid while simultaneously swiping votes from Nelson Mandela's ANC.

The manipulation of the Election Commission computer was discovered in the early hours of the count on 3 May but the perpetrator has never been identified. The attempted electronic disruption occurred during a period of high tension and violence in the country.

"There was a right-wing conspiracy to start an armed insurrection with the help of the Defence Force," Harris said, the BBC reports, "and that resulted in a number of bombs going off to try and stop the election and cause mass panic and despair."

The April election went ahead on schedule but the result of the vote was delayed as a result of the hack attack, which was first detected by a United Nations observer. As a result the electronic count was suspended and a secondary backup manual system was brought into play, delaying the results for two days.

"The electronic count was compromised by a hacker who went in and multiplied the vote," said Mr Harris. "The electronic count was then closed down.

Nelson Mandela was ultimately declared victor of the election, a result that was "true and fair", according to Harris. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.