Brazil’s Electoral System Hit by DDoS Attack

Posted on November 18, 2020 at 3:28 PM

Brazil’s Electoral System Hit by DDoS Attack

Municipal elections were held in Brazil last week. But while the political news filled the airwaves others were concerned the election didn’t go as expected.

During the city elections, a DDoS attack caused outages on the Brazilian Superior Electoral Court (TSE), which delayed vote-counting procedures. During the investigation by SafeNet and the Brazilian Federal Public Ministry, it was discovered that TSE was a victim of a social network campaign and a coordinated attack to promote an unknown election fraud.

Over 57,000 council members were elected into political offices in Brazil. The country went to the polls to choose who will be their next leader between the left-wing led by opposition parties and the far-right wing led by President Bolsonaro, who many have called the Donald Trump of South America.

However, the coordination of the election was not considered free-and-fair by the public, who were left frustrated by officials refusing to acknowledge the delay in the vote-counting process. Many went to social media to vent their frustrations.

TSE says vote counting delay was due to DDoS attack

After Brazil’s electoral body investigated the issue, it discovered that the reason for the delay was an attack on the electoral system. The DDoS attack affected the optimal performance of the system.

It also added that the DDoS attack was not carried out in a complicated or complex manner. The electoral body says anyone with $1000 worth of Bitcoin can pay an experienced hacker for such an attack.

Hacking method increasingly becoming rampant

DDoS attacks motivated by political reasons have increased in recent times, with hacking syndicates such as Anonymous targeting government agencies. In Brazil’s case, the attack was motivated by political reason, according to Brazil’s Minister Luis Barroso.

While the investigation into the attack is going on, some members in the government feel digital militias are trying to paint the government in a bad light.

The group wants to discredit the government and its institutions. Presently, there is an ongoing investigation into the activities of these groups.

Why hackers are being paid in Bitcoin

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have become the main currencies used by hackers and other cybercriminals when demanding payment or ransom. That’s because the digital currency uses a decentralized framework that makes it difficult to trace the identity of the receiver or sender.

So, it’s not a surprise when Brazil’s minister said it will cost the perpetrator of the act $1,000 to pay a hacker for the DDoS attack.

In this case, someone could use only $1,000 to buy an attack of 30 Gigabytes per second for one hour. That’s the DDoS attack could be overloading the electoral server, causing the system to slow for a complete hour.

Increase in the number of DDoS attacks

There has been an increased number of DDoS attacks over the past few months. Cyber intelligence firm NexusGuard shared a report recently to show that the number of DDoS attacks has increased this year. Based on the report, there have been more than 278% rise in the number of DDoS attacks in the first quarter of this year.

The bad news is that it seems trading efficiency and a more private way of exchange funds is the main cause of this rise. That explains why some governments have banned the payment of goods and services with Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.

There are also stricter laws on crypto trading compared to other forms of trading in the mainstream. All these laws are meant to curtail the extent of payments for illegal or criminal activities.

On a similar note, ransomware attacks have also increased, with 1 attack reported every second. Its rise has also been credited to the more private means of collecting ransom from attacked victims. Hackers no longer have to fear that they may be traced and caught since they are collecting the funds via cryptocurrency.

Brazil’s Electoral System Hit by DDoS Attack
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Brazil’s Electoral System Hit by DDoS Attack
During the city elections, a DDoS attack caused outages on the Brazilian Superior Electoral Court (TSE), which delayed vote-counting procedures.
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