Automated bogus voting attempts to create fake popularity for Indian politicians in the midst of elections
April 22, 2014
Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC, http://iamc.com), a group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has called on TIME magazine to disqualify Indian politicians from the 2014 TIME 100 online poll. Millions of fake online votes were cast using automated systems for Indian politicians Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal, sometime running into 1,000 votes every 5 seconds. In the two hours between 1:15-3:15PM today (past midnight in India), over 1.4 million votes were cast for candidate Narendra Modi. Since 6PM last evening (April 21st 2014), over 4 million votes were cast for Modi and 2 million for Kejriwal. This polling fraud has implications on the ongoing Indian elections where perceptions on the outcome of the TIME poll have impact on the masses. Over 300 parliamentary seats go to polls in India between now and May 12th.
While the TIME Magazine poll is known to have been rigged for the last several years, the Magazine has done little to address the issue. Although a detailed account of how Katie Perry was pushed to the top spot in last year’s TIME poll through automated polling has been published by hackers, TIME continues to use the same polling service. What is rather alarming is that TIME seems to actually believe in the authenticity of its own online poll and is publishing ‘news’ reportsbased on how Kejriwal and Modi are leading in their poll.
In order to demonstrate how easy it is to crack the TIME poll, IAMC has listed below step-wise technical details on how fake voting can be automated on the TIME Magazine poll:
1. Open a Facebook account
2. Using a browser recording tool such as Selenium, record a session for the following:
1. Go to TIME Magazine poll, click on the person to vote.
2. It will give the option to login to Facebook or Twitter. Login into Facebook.
3. This will result in the poll service accepting the vote.
3. Write a script that does the following:
1. Clear all cookies and other private data from the browser
2. Play the Selenium recording
4. Write an auto initialization script that continuously runs the above.
5. Save the virtual image of the machine.
6. Use the virtual image to launch hundreds or thousands of machines on a cloud service or data
center to cast their millions of votes for the person of your choice.
This loophole can easily be plugged by TIME through the introduction of industry standard techniques such as Captchas, however TIME has persistently ignored poll fraud on its site for the last several years.
“TIME Magazine should reflect on its willing complicity in allowing itself be used as a PR tool, especially when it has the potential to impact elections in the world’s largest democracy,” said IAMC President Ahsan Khan. Mr. Khan further called upon TIME to not include any Indian politicians in the outcome of its poll. “Given the well documented history of the poll being hacked year after year, it would be irresponsible on the part of TIME to publish its poll results when elections are ongoing in India and the top two candidates in the TIME poll are Indian politicians vying for higher office.”
IAMC also called upon the Election Commission of India to ensure that the results of TIME 100 poll are not used as a publicity tool by the Indian political parties during the course of these elections.
Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy group of Indian Muslims in the United States with 15 chapters across the nation.
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