For several years, Eddie Tipton, the former security director of the US Multi-State Lottery Association, installed software code that allowed him to predict winning numbers on specific days of the year, investigators allege. The random-number generators had been erased, but new forensic evidence has revealed how the hack was apparently done.

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The number generator had apparently been hacked to produce predictable numbers on three days of the year, after the machine had gone through a security audit.

All six prizes linked to Tipton were drawn between 2005 and 2011 on either 23 November or 29 December.

Investigators were able to recreate the draws and produce “the very same ‘winning numbers’ from the program that was supposed to produce random numbers,” said the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation agent Don Smith.