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Botnet-powered ballot stuffing suspected in 2nd referendum petition

'Tiny fraction of the overall count' however

Brexit A petition for a second EU referendum in the UK has been hit by suspicions of computer automated ballot stuffing, possibly by politically motivated hackers.

77K fraudulent signatures have been removed from a petition calling for a second vote on the UK’s relationship with the European Union.

The so-far identified fraudulent votes represent a tiny fraction of the overall count, though not perhaps the full extent of the issue. Reg reader Rob has uncovered evidence that a botnet (i.e. automated computer program rather than human) is stuffing the second referendum ballot.

“It's continuously been getting roughly 10 signatures per *SECOND* since it started and all throughout the night when people would be sleeping,” Rob explained. “I monitored it from 2.30 to 3.30am this morning and in that space of time it received over 90,000 new signatures.”

The json data on the referendum link provides further evidence that all is not perhaps kosher.

“There are 2,371 signatures from The Vatican - a place that only has a population of 1,000,” Rob notes. Also the json data shows 2735 signatures from the Antarctic and 23,694 signatures from North Korea.”

A blackhat hacker from Syria claimed responsibility for the “hack” which he claimed he was doing in order to show “your democracies are a joke”. He also claimed to be “voting like crazy” on this petition.

Both claims are unsubstantiated and therefore ought to be treated with caution.

House of Commons staff said that they are on top of the ballot-stuffing issue in a series of tweets that seek to dispel rumours that any Parliamentary site had been hacked.

“The petitions website has not been hacked. Fraudulent signatures have been and will continue to be removed, to ensure the site’s integrity,” the Petitions Committee said on Sunday through its official Twitter profile. “The petition site is working and secure. We’re monitoring the site to ensure it’s used properly,” it added.

So far more than 3.6 million people have signed up the petition on the website. Any petition with more than 100K votes is considered for debate in parliament, irrespective of its merits either way.

The second EU referendum petition states:

We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based a turnout less than 75% there should be another referendum.

Demand on the petition’s site in the immediate aftermath of the surprise result of Thursday’s vote caused the site to crash. ®

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