Hackers target local feria poster contest
By James Langton A SURVEY on Fuengirola town hall’s website to select a poster for the upcoming Feria del Rosario has been scrapped, after municipal IT staff detected hundreds of fraudulent votes.
In a statement last week, the town hall said that the contest had been annulled after officials found “a series of irregularities that can only be classified as very serious”. Mayor Ana Mula added that a complaint had been filed with the National Police and a local court, to investigate whether the vote hacking constitutes a criminal offence.
Earlier this year the town hall opened a public contest to design a the poster for the fair, taking place from the 6th until the 12th of October, with a prize of €3,750 up for grabs for the winning submission.
A jury of municipal workers was put together to decide the winning entry but failed to do so. Sra Mula said this created “a certain controversy between some people, who made suggestions of all kinds”, and the decision was made to let the public choose the winner.
A public poll was then created, allowing people on the town’s Padrón census to vote once in each of two rounds of voting. Phase one saw the entries cut down to 10, but it was during the second stage of the survey, between August 17 and 23, when the problems were found, with municipal staff discovering at least 741 irregular votes.
It was found that 338 of these were made using the same NIE number, while a more complex hack saw the use of NIE numbers of people not on the Padrón, taken from a council document published publically two years ago containing data of applicants to the town’s fire service
he town’s mayor added that although it is not known which of the entries the votes were used to support, “it is unfortunate that citizens who have voted honestly, meeting the established requirements, are disadvantaged by those who have opted to violate the system”.
She added that a new solution to the “very delicate” situation regarding the fair’s poster will be sought by the town hall.
Mayor Ana Mula with a copy of the police complaint filed by the town hall over the incident