Eddie Tipton, the late 51-year-old employee of the Multi-State Lottery Association has been detained in January by the Iowa department of Criminal investigations.
The ex–head of the lottery company’s safety department was arrested for possible hacking into the company’s computer that chooses successful lottery numbers.
Eddie Tipton, the late 51–year–old employee of the Multi–State Lottery Association has been detained in January by the Iowa department of Criminal investigations. Prosecutors informed that the suspect was videoed by the surveillance video camera located in the ticket–selling room while buying the lottery ticket. The $14.3 million–dollar jackpot was never requested. At that time Tipton denies all accusations against him.
As became known from the court files, the suspect could have used his employment in the company to access the computer which generates “lucky numbers“. The computer is cut off the internet, located in a glass–walled room, and can be accessed simultaneously only by two people. As an additional measure of protection, the room is observed by the surveillance camera.
Former Tipton’s colleagues say that he admired rootkits – a malicious type of software which is used to gain unauthorized access to computers. Using his place in the company, Eddie changed the surveillance camera preferences so that it recorded only a second in a minute. This might have provided him with sufficient amount of time to access the computer–room and insert a flash–drive into the device. Prosecutors assume that the flash drive contained a malware program. It’s objective was to find out the desired jackpot numbers for the lottery ticket that Eddie was about to purchase afterwards. After the job was done, the program might have erased itself.
Mike McLaughlin, the leading security analyst said in the interview that the accusation may sound incredible, but it is definitely plausible.
“It is completely feasible to create a virus and place it on a USB–drive. Once it is plugged in the computer, rootkit will start interfering with the computer software and then erase itself. And the whole process will take about a second or two. But the activity of the rootkit may leave traces on the computer that can be tracked down and used to prove suspect’s fault“.
Due to the company’s politics, Tipton, as the company’s employee couldn’t have received the money himself. And there is a mention in the court papers about an attempt to get the money a few hours before the end of the expiration of the winning numbers by some company in Belize.
If Tipton’s fault will be proven, he might spend 5 years in prison as well as paying the $7,500 fine.