Man Charged with Hacking US Lottery
The former security boss of the Multi-State Lottery Association in the US has been charged with fraud after allegedly hacking the computer that selects the winning numbers.
The security director, known as Eddie Raymond Tipton, was arrested back in January by the IOWA Division of Criminal Investigations.
Prosecutors said he had been caught on CCTV buying the winning ticket. The $14.3 million prize was never claimed and Mr Tipton denies the charges.
Referring to Court papers filed by prosecutors in the case, The Des Moines Register said the "51 year-old may have inserted a thumb drive into a highly locked-down computer that's supposed to generate the random numbers used to determine lottery winners".
The offline computer is constantly monitored by a video camera and housed in a glass room. In theory, it can only be accessed by two people at the same time.
It is thought Mr Tipton used his position as security director to change the camera and video settings and record only one second every minute; allowing him enough time to enter the room and plug a thumb drive into the computer.
According to experts, there was a rootkit - a stealthy computer program designed to do a specific task - and in this case, erase itself once the task was complete. This was essentially to predetermine the winning lottery numbers for the draw, which Mr Tipton
has to later buy the winning ticket for.
Senior analyst at security company First Base said the allegation is entirely plausible although it may sound somewhat farfetched.
He said: "It is entirely possible to code a rootkit on a USB drive which could interfere with software on a computer then delete itself.
"It would only take a second to run once plugged in.
"However, this can leave traces on the infected machine if you know where to look."
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