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Lottery hacker wins detention
By Chen Hong (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-07-10 08:26

SHENZHEN, Guangdong: A hacker has been arrested after breaking into a lottery database in an attempt to win millions, an official at Shenzhen Public Security Bureau said.

The man surnamed Cheng, a software engineer of a high-tech company which contracted with the lottery management center to work on a system upgrade, was arrested by police on June 12.

Lottery hacker wins detention

He is accused of hacking into the system and falsifying entries for five winning tickets. Those tickets were among nine that won the top prize in the "Dual-colored Ball" lottery on June 9. Each ticket was worth roughly 6.6 million yuan ($966,000).

Wang Xuehong, director of the China Center for Lottery Studies, said lottery operators need to strengthen their fraud control.

"It's an obvious security risk that an engineer alone can change the database of a lottery. The incident sends a warning to the lottery operators to improve their management," Wang told China Daily.

The lottery management center detected the fraud shortly after it was announced there were nine winning tickets.

After tests, they concluded the computerized sales system had been hacked into and some data changed. They contacted police at 2:00 am on June 10.

While monitoring the venue where people collect their prizes, police assigned specialized online crime investigators and arrested Cheng on June 12.

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Police said Cheng allegedly changed the lottery data in order to claim the money, which could have amounted to more than 33 million yuan.

Curiously, he did not create physical tickets with the numbers, meaning he could not collect the money, police said.

The Shenzhen lottery management center said it would learn from the incident and improve the system's safety.

To make up for smaller prizes for the real winners, the center corrected the results and issued an extra 2 million yuan each.