BOGOTA – A cyberattack prevented the online transmission of results from last weekend’s congressional elections, while final returns have still not been released three days after the balloting due to organizational problems.
Ivan Ribon, director of the Arolen firm, responsible for communicating the elections results over the Internet, told RCN radio Wednesday that his company had been targeted by hackers.
The cyberattack initially led to intermittent updating of the returns from Sunday’s balloting and later caused a complete loss of service.
Once “the channels for communicating the results were opened, we began to notice (an abnormal number of hits) on the Web site ... an extremely large-scale attack that lasted all (Sunday) night,” he said.
The executive added that the Attorney General’s Office was alerted to the problem and that a formal complaint will be filed Wednesday.
Another company, acting “in strict compliance with the law,” has been “keeping a record of what happened within the security systems,” Ribon said.
He added that a coordinated attack from a network of computers was found to have been orchestrated “to try to crash the Web site of the Registrar’s Office,” which organizes Colombia’s elections.
Arolen’s Ribon said his company assumes responsibility for the failure to release the results on Sunday, but stressed that the data was never altered nor at risk.
Separately, Colombian electoral authorities on Tuesday resumed vote-counting in the primary for the Conservative Party presidential nomination following interruptions in the process.
The two main rivals, former Foreign Minister Noemi Sanin and erstwhile Agriculture Minister Andres Felipe Arias, have both criticized elections officials for the delays.
Bogota daily El Tiempo reported that delays in setting up computer equipment pushed back the vote counting.
The delay has sparked controversy in Colombia, especially within the Conservative Party, which still is without a winner of its primary to choose a candidate for the May 30 presidential ballot.
Now leading in the polls is former Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos, who was nominated by the conservative ruling party after the courts halted a bid by President Alvaro Uribe to seek a third consecutive four-year term. EFE