PKR suspends poll at controversial Julau branch over ‘cyberattack’

A boat covered with PKR flags is displayed at the junction of Jalan Permatang Pauh, May 6, 2018. — Picture by KE Ooi
A boat covered with PKR flags is displayed at the junction of Jalan Permatang Pauh, May 6, 2018. — Picture by KE Ooi

KUCHING, Nov 10 — PKR halted voting at its scandal-hit Julau branch today after its central election committee detected a third-party application on the 10 tablets used for the party’s e-voting.

Committee chairman Datuk Rashid Din said reports have then been sent to the panel’s cybersecurity team in the party headquarters Petaling Jaya for examination.

“The information that was received stated that the software was used to erase the e-voting application in the tablets, steal data, change the passwords and control the use of the tablets,” he said in a statement.

The tablets were being remotely controlled, he added.

A technical team took the tablets offline before removing the application.

He identified the “malware” as the Prey app. Prey is a legitimate anti-theft application that is available on Android, iOS, Windows, macOS and even Linux.

The statement did not say if the app was altered or simply used to hijack the tablets.

The committee opted to suspend the announcement of the Julau branch’s results pending further examination of the tablets and e-votes lodged.

“The committee is investigating if the cyberattack is also happening in other places where the party’s polls are also held today,” Rashid said.

The Julau branch caused controversy with the sudden spike its membership from 603 to 13,178.

Sarawak PKR information chief Vernon Kedit had claimed that the registration of 13,178 new members of the party in Julau was “not genuine, but made by stealing personal data and information without the knowledge of the owners and, therefore, not proper”.

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