Threat Management, Threat Management

Costa Rica investigating rigged elections by political hacker

Costa Rica will be undergoing an investigation on whether or not hackers interfered with its 2014 elections.

Jailed political hacker Andrés Sepúlveda admitted to running underhanded campaigns with the use of black propaganda and other tactics to influence many presidential elections across Latin America including Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia and more for almost a decade, from 2005-2013.

For $12,000 (£8,500) a month, a customer of Sepúlveda could hire a crew that could hack smartphones, spoof and clone web pages, and send mass emails and texts. For $20,000 (£14K) a month, a more extensive package included a full range of digital interception, attack, decryption and defence.

The Costa Rican Supreme Court of Elections authorised the investigation into the country's 2014 election after receiving a complaint by left-wing politicians in Costa Rica who feel that executives from the right-wing National Liberation Party hired Sepúlveda and his team to rig the election.

A favoured tactic of the hacker was to use banks of sock puppet social media accounts to promote tweets and memes that made fun of left-wing candidates that allegedly had ties to Marxist guerillas in Colombia. Anti Broad Front memes were reportedly abundant during the Costa Rican 2014 elections.

“My job was to do actions of dirty war and psychological operations, black propaganda, rumours—the whole dark side of politics that nobody knows exists but everyone can see,” Sepúlveda said in Spanish at the Colombian attorney general's office.

Sepúlveda is serving 10 years in prison for charges including malicious software, conspiracy, violation of personal data, and espionage. 

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