On Tuesday, Microsoft announced that a group associated with a Russian intelligence agency had created fake websites that looked almost identical to real sites for a conservative think tank, a non-profit organization, and the US Senate. According to the Washington Post, the company’s Digital Crimes Unit believed that the fake sites might have been designed to hack the computers of unwitting visitors (or victims) who clicked on what they believed to be ‘real’ websites. The discovery has prompted Microsoft to offer “enhanced cybersecurity” to political candidates and campaign offices in advance of the midterm elections later this year.
Meanwhile in the Maldives, four men have been arrested for allegedly tampering with the country’s upcoming presidential elections, by using black magic, sorcery and—if history is any indication—maybe even a cursed coconut.
The Maldives Independent reports that the men are accused of using the dark arts to help the Maldivian Democratic Party to power, and their homes were searched after they were taken into custody. The legality of sorcery (known as fanditha in the local language) and black magic (sihuru) is complicated: Only those with a license from the Ministry of Health are allowed to practice fanditha, and sihuru is “considered taboo” but is not technically against the law. But it seems like employing any kind of magic to fuck with an election is an excellent way to find yourself in handcuffs.
Although the details of the alleged sorcery have not been revealed, no one would be surprised if it involved a coconut. Previous elections in the island nation have been interrupted by coconuts that have been ‘cursed’ by local practitioners of black magic.
In the days before the 2013 presidential election, a coconut that was covered in Arabic verses and “suspicious symbols” was discovered near a school that was to be used as a polling place. It was initially believed that this cursed nut was put there to influence the thoughts of potential voters, compelling them to vote for one particular presidential candidate. The police collected the coconut and allowed it to be examined by a practitioner of white magic, who decided that it was fake.
“It seems like it was a joke, just a prank, so that people will become aware, learn the moral, and not do it again,” a police source told a local news outlet. “Now the police and school officials are more aware and police are patrolling the school at night, so magicians can’t practice real black magic at the school.”
Several years earlier, a man given the pseudonym of Easa was accused of using cursed coconuts to—say it with us—influence a presidential election. “Every day after dawn prayer he went to the beach and did black magic stuff,” an unnamed source snitched at the time. “He also went near the polling station and threw cursed objects at people. [But] Easa’s spells did not work the last time.”
This year’s Maldivian presidential election will be held on September 23. Let’s hope the Russians haven’t gotten any ideas for our own elections. How hard is it to buy coconuts in Moscow?
This article originally appeared on Munchies US.