Feeds

Hacker almost derailed Mandela election in South Africa

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

SANS - Survey on application security programs

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.