APC plotted to hack INEC computers —DSS
The Department of State Service said that its investigations indicated that the All Progressives Congress had plans to hack into the computers of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The service explained that confessions from the number of staff arrested during a raid at the APC Data Centre at 10, Bola Ajibola Street, Ikeja, and the items retrieved from the building on November 20, 2014, showed that the party had elaborate plans to clone the INEC Permanent Voter Cards, corrupt the database and replace same with their own data.
The Deputy Director, Public Relations, DSS, Marilyn Ogar, who said this on Wednesday in Abuja at a news conference on the investigation into the APC Data Centre, further stated that the party registered babies and infants as well as security personnel as part of plans to inflate its membership.
According to her, all the people arrested during the raid have been charged to court and are currently on judicial bail.
The DSS stated that in the course of the investigation, it recovered a Temporary Voter Card and a Permanent Voter Card, adding that one of the hard drives recovered from the building contained a video of 21 hacking tutorials.
The tutorial video, Ogar added, focused on how to become a hacker and steps to take to avoid detection in the process of hacking web servers, steps and procedures of system hacking, passwords cracking, decrypting, escalating access privileges and creating backdoors to servers.
She further explained that the video also explicitly explained how to evade security of databases such as Intrusion Detection Systems, firewalls and other measures put in place to deter hackers.
The deputy director said that the video outlined ways to identify vulnerabilities in systems and how to surreptitiously drop a USB flash drive in a targeted establishment, which when plugged into any computer, transmits malicious codes enough to gain access into and compromise the entire system of the target organisation.
She said, “Finally, the video explains how to hack into the systems of media houses, with the aim of broadcasting fake stories or headlines.
“From the foregoing, we suspect that there was an elaborate and well articulated plan to inflate the party’s membership data as well as hack into INEC’s voter registration database through the creation of party membership forms and cards to match INEC’s voter register across the country.”
The service also said it discovered that the APC registered under-aged persons, including several infants and babies as members of the party, contrary to Article 9.1 of the party, which says, “Membership of the party shall be open to any citizen of Nigeria who has attained the age of 18 years and accepts the aims and objectives of the party…”
Similarly, she said, the APC registered several security personnel from the Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Road Safety Corps, among others, in their uniforms as members of the party.
Ogar said a DSS operative whose picture was found in the APC database, but with a wrong name, was being investigated and would be sanctioned if he was found to have voluntarily registered with the party.
The DSS stated that it had written letters to the different security agencies whose members were registered as APC members to determine their level of involvement with the party, stressing that security personnel were not supposed to be card-carrying member of any political party.
“Furthermore, the APC had multiple registration of individuals in multiples of 16, 12, and 10; several foreigners were also registered as its members,” Ogar stated, adding that the party filled forms without passport photographs and had books containing names of people with their phone numbers.
The DSS spokesperson also said that her agency discovered several envelopes containing passport photographs of various individuals. The photographs were shown to journalists during the news conference.
Ogar narrated that the service raided the APC office based on actionable intelligence it received that a building was being used for cloning of INEC Permanent Voter Cards by some unscrupulous persons with intent to hack into INEC database, corrupt it and replace same with their own data.
Upon receiving the said report, she said, the DSS immediately took appropriate steps to investigate same by first seeking and obtaining a search warrant as required by law. She insisted that the DSS operatives found that the building did not have the signpost, banner or flag of any company or political party.
Asked if the leadership of the party would be summoned or investigated, Ogar said further investigations would determine the next step, adding that necessary legal actions would be taken against all who were involved in the plot.
She said, “INEC was shocked by the operation and it had taken steps to protect its database. Whatever discoveries we have made is an eye opener to all of us. The APC was using the same INEC registration centres to do their own registrations and nobody knew what the underlying motive was. We are working with INEC and other political parties and we won’t allow any party to undermine the electoral process.”
…DSS findings flimsy, says APC
The All Progressives Congress has dismissed the findings of the Department of State Service following its raid on the APC’s offices in Lagos, saying it is flimsy, partisan and an embarrassment to all intelligence-gathering agencies in the world
It said the ‘findings’ presented to the media by the DSS on Wednesday was a great disservice to Nigeria.
The party stated these in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
It described the timing of the release of the ‘findings’ as a plot orchestrated in collusion with the Peoples Democratic Party to distract the APC from its ongoing campaigns.
The APC described as disingenuous, flimsy, premeditated and partisan, the conclusion that the APC had an ‘’articulated plan to inflate the party’s membership data as well as hack into the Independent National Electoral Commission’s voter registration database.
It said, “First, the DSS and the PDP said the APC was cloning Permanent Voter Cards at the raided office, without a shred of evidence. Now, after a ‘painstaking’ investigation, the DSS has found out that the APC was only planning to inflate its membership data and then hack into INEC’s database. And this is the outcome of its massive, months-long investigations?”
The APC wondered if the DSS report stood any serious scrutiny, adding that any serious intelligence-gathering agency anywhere else in the world would not take it (the report) seriously.
It asked, “Why would the spokesperson for a national agency sound like a megaphone for the ruling party, freely castigating the opposition spokesman and ‘’a number of uninformed members of the public’’? Why does she have to go personal in presenting a report that supposedly is in the national interest?
“We have always warned that our democracy is in clear and present danger, not just from desperate politicians, but also from institutions of state that have compromised in their roles and resorted to crass lawlessness. The DSS’ ‘findings’ today have given us another reason to repeat this warning.”
The APC said that while it was willing to meet the DSS in court, it could confidently say that the ‘confessions’ extracted from the arrested persons, after they were subjected to torture, could not even stand in any court of law.
The party recalled that in its statement of December 5, 2014, it accused the DSS of resorting to the use of torture to obtain confessions from those who were arrested during the first raid.
It said that in that statement, it called the action of the DSS a contravention of the United Nations Convention against torture to which Nigeria is a signatory and a violation of the citizens’ fundamental human rights.
“Now the DSS has confirmed what we said in that press statement. Is anyone still surprised at the action of countries that are distancing themselves from Nigeria over human rights violations?’’ He added.