For 8 Years Elections in Nine Latin American Countries Successfully Rigged and Spied by a Colombian
Last month we reported how a Brazilian hacker claimed to have hacked election voting machine in the country and rigged the elections in favor of the political party in power. But, now another hacker has claimed to do the same but on a larger scale. The list of countries includes Colombia, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Honduras.
The hacking and spying feat was conducted by Andres Sepulveda, who happens to be an extremely sophisticated hacker based in Colombia. His skills are so polished that he managed to rig elections all across Latin America in favor of right-wing candidates for around 8 years. In return, the hacker received heavy paychecks; the minimum amount was US$12,000 a month. He is now jailed in Colombia.
Even the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s election was rigged by Sepulveda. So, this is how he rose to power in Mexico. After this story was published, the Mexican government was quick to reject it and sent out an official statement on Friday that Peña Nieto did not spy upon his rivals during his campaign.
While speaking to Bloomberg Business, who broke this story, Sepulveda said that he worked for the “dark side of politics” which nobody had any idea that existed but “everyone can see.” He further added that initially he did small jobs in 2005 but then using his skills he started helping candidates in their presidential campaigns all over Latin America. His tasks included smearing, hacking, and spying on the left-wing rivals of the right-wing candidates.
“When I realized that people believe what the Internet says more than reality, I discovered that I had the power to make people believe almost anything.”
His first hacking feat was way back in the year 2006 for the re-election campaign of previous right-wing President of Colombia Alfaro Uribe. With Sepulveda’s help, Uribe managed to win as he hacked the website and campaign database of Uribe’s rival.
In 2009, Sepulveda played a vital role in Honduras’ National Party President Porfirio Lobo’s campaign. In 2011, he started malicious campaigns against the socialist President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and in 2012 he worked for the ex-president of Venezuela president Hugo Chavez.
As time passed by, his salary increased and so did the scope of hacking. In 2012, he also spied, hacked and manipulated the social media platforms to help President Enrique Peña Nieto win the presidential election. He received US$600,000 for this job. The key rival of Peña Nieto, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wasn’t satisfied with the results and demanded a full recount of votes.
The hacker stated that throughout his hacking career, he was associated with Juan Jose Rendon, a Miami-based political consultant. Rendon, however, when contacted by Bloomberg Business, denied any association with Sepulveda on any such illegal tasks.
For his crimes, Sepulveda has been sent behind bars for 10 years. The list of his crimes includes espionage and conspiring to hack Colombia’s year 2014 elections.
He told his story to Bloomberg Business in hopes of getting a lighter sentence by showing he’s owned up his dark past.