Dude Hacked Lottery Computers

By: Robert Siciliano  |  June 2, 2015

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Who needs psychics to reveal future lottery numbers when you can hack into the state lottery association and tamper with it? That apparently was the reasoning of Eddie Raymond Tipton, 51.

Prosecutors believe Tipton inserted a thumb drive into a computer—the one that spits out random numbers for the lottery, says an article in the Des Moines Register, according to a report at arstechnica.com.

At the time of this purported crime, Tipton was head of security for the Multi-State Lottery Association. Surveillance caught him buying a ticket that was worth $14.3 million (not smart enough to wear a disguise, eh?).

Coincidence? Not according to the prosecutors, who say he programmed computers that generate the numbers. This shouldn’t even be possible.

Supposedly on November 20 of 2010, Tipton went into the “draw room” where he altered the time on the computers. The settings of the room’s camera were changed, so that Tipton’s activity inside the room would not be recorded.

Prosecutors say that of the five people who are capable of changing the camera’s settings, four said they did not change them. Of course, the fifth person is Tipton. What a sly duck: resetting the camera so that it recorded only one second out of every minute, to miss detecting him inserting the thumb drive.

But he pled not guilty, even though he was identified as the man in the surveillance purchasing the golden ticket. Even if there’d been no tampering, Tipton would be barred from receiving the prize because employees of the association are banned from claiming lottery prizes.

For about a year, this particular ticket went unclaimed. But through a New York attorney, a company in Belize tried to claim the ticket at the last minute.

Somehow, authorities smelled a rat and focused on Tipton. Prosecutors also say that he had a fascination with root kits, which is in line with quickly installing the thumb drive. A root kit can be installed fast, carry out its orders, then self-destruct without leaving a trace.

The scales of justice are not tipped in Tipton’s favor especially because a witness plans on testifying that shortly before December 2010, Tipton told him he had a rootkit—a self-destructing one.

The trial is set for July 13.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to bestcompany.com discussing identity theft prevention.

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