Tag Archives | hackers

‘Anonymous’ Hackers Hit U.S. Security Firm

anonymousBBC News reports:

Online activist group Anonymous has targeted an American security firm that claimed to know the identities of its leaders.

The secretive organisation is being investigated in several countries over strikes on Visa, PayPal and others.

Over the weekend Aaron Barr, head of HBGary Federal, said he had discovered the names of its most senior figures.

The group retaliated overnight by breaking into the company’s website and hijacking his Twitter account.

Anonymous, known for being a loosely-knit group, has been involved in a number of high profile online protests and attacks in recent months.

In December, the group launched a campaign in support of Wikileaks that disrupted services at MasterCard, Visa and other companies that had withdrawn support the whistle-blowing website.

The strike led to police investigations around the world, and a number of arrests in Britain and the Netherlands.

Although the individuals who make up the collective claim they do not have a traditional hierarchy, Mr Barr told the Financial Times that he had infiltrated the organisation and uncovered the names and addresses of several senior figures…

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Albert Gonzalez: America’s Top Hacker?

NYT MagThe New York Times Magazine devotes its cover and many, many column inches to a profile of the man Times’ writer James Verini describes as “America’s most notorious computer hacker”:

One night in July 2003, a little before midnight, a plainclothes N.Y.P.D. detective, investigating a series of car thefts in upper Manhattan, followed a suspicious-looking young man with long, stringy hair and a nose ring into the A.T.M. lobby of a bank. Pretending to use one of the machines, the detective watched as the man pulled a debit card from his pocket and withdrew hundreds of dollars in cash. Then he pulled out another card and did the same thing. Then another, and another. The guy wasn’t stealing cars, but the detective figured he was stealing something.

Indeed, the young man was in the act of “cashing out,” as he would later admit. He had programmed a stack of blank debit cards with stolen card numbers and was withdrawing as much cash as he could from each account.

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Your Credit Card Data Is Worth $1.50

JJ Sutherland discovers that his precious credit card info isn’t so precious after all, writing for NPR:

If you’re like me, you’re slightly paranoid about your credit card data. You’ve taken all the precautions, checked your statements frequently for fraudulent spending, carefully hidden them in a ‘top-secret’ shoe compartment. What, wait, you don’t do that?

Well, your precious data that you protect so diligently is worth, wait for it, $1.50. That’s because, well, all those security precautions you take don’t really do that much, especially against trojans and hackers who you probably don’t do enough to defend against. There are so many stolen credit cards that they come cheap.

logoBrian Krebs found all this out by creating an account on one site that sells credit card data rock3d.cc.

The trouble is, the minute you seek to narrow your search using the built-in tools, the site starts adding all these extra convenience fees (sound familiar?).

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The Man Behind Wikileaks

280px-Julian_Assange_fullIan Traynor profiles Julian Assange for the Guardian:

The elusive founder of WikiLeaks, who is at the centre of a potential US national security sensation, has surfaced from almost a month in hiding to tell the Guardian he does not fear for his safety but is on permanent alert.

Julian Assange, a renowned Australian hacker who founded the electronic whistleblowers’ platform WikiLeaks, vanished when a young US intelligence analyst in Baghdad was arrested.

The analyst, Bradley Manning, had bragged he had sent 260,000 incendiary US state department cables on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to WikiLeaks.

The prospect of the cache of classified intelligence on the US conduct of the two wars being put online is a nightmare for Washington. The sensitivity of the information has generated media reports that Assange is the target of a US manhunt.

“[US] public statements have all been reasonable. But some statements made in private are a bit more questionable,” Assange told the Guardian in Brussels.

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U.S. Pinpoints Coder Behind Google Attack

From Wired:

U.S. government analysts believe a Chinese man with government links wrote the key part of a spyware program used in hacker attacks on Google last year, the Financial Times reported on Monday.The man, a security consultant in his 30s, posted sections of the program to a hacking forum where he described it as something he was “working on,” the paper said, quoting an unidentified researcher working for the U.S. government.

The spyware creator works as a freelancer and did not launch the attack, but Chinese officials had “special access” to his programing, the report said.

“If he wants to do the research he’s good at, he has to toe the line now and again,” the paper quoted the unnamed U.S. government researcher saying.

“He would rather not have uniformed guys looking over his shoulder, but there is no way anyone of his skill level can get away from that kind of thing.

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Cyber Attacks Against Australia ‘Will Continue’

From BBC News:

An activist group that temporarily blocked access to key Australian government websites plans to continue its cyber attacks, the BBC has learned.

The group, known as Anonymous, was protesting against the Australian government’s proposals to apply filters to the internet in the country.

A man claiming to be a representative of the group said that around 500 people were involved in the attack.

The method they are using is known as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS).

DDoS is illegal in many countries including the United Kingdom. There is no indication that the attack was carried out from within Britain. DDoS attacks typically call on machines in many different nations, making them hard to trace.

The sites were intermittently blocked on 10 and 11 February. The action has been condemned by various bodies including the Systems Administrators Guild of Australia (SAGE-AU) and Electronic Frontiers Australia.

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Hacked List Of Passwords Shows ’1234546′ Is Most Popular Choice

Might as well load up on stories from the New York Times as it has announced plans to “meter” usage and limit free online access to its content (at least for now – it’s not the first time the Times has tried charging for some content). If this story doesn’t tell you to change your passwords now, nothing will:

Back at the dawn of the Web, the most popular account password was “12345.” Today, it’s one digit longer but hardly safer: “123456.”

Despite all the reports of Internet security breaches over the years, including the recent attacks on Google’s e-mail service, many people have reacted to the break-ins with a shrug.

According to a new analysis, one out of five Web users still decides to leave the digital equivalent of a key under the doormat: they choose a simple, easily guessed password like “abc123,” “iloveyou” or even “password” to protect their data…

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Russian Cyber Gang Steals Tens of Millions From Citibank

Is there no end to the run of mishaps at Citibank? Remember, as the U.S. Government owns a massive stake in Citi, paid for with our tax dollars, the Russian hackers stole your money. The latest, from the Wall Street Journal:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing a computer-security breach targeting Citigroup Inc. that resulted in a theft of tens of millions of dollars by computer hackers who appear linked to a Russian cyber gang, according to government officials.

The attack took aim at Citigroup’s Citibank subsidiary, which includes its North American retail bank and other businesses. It couldn’t be learned whether the thieves gained access to Citibank’s systems directly or through third parties.

The attack underscores the blurring of lines between criminal and national-security threats in cyber space. Hackers also assaulted two other entities, at least one of them a U.S. government agency, said people familiar with the attack on Citibank.

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Hackers Steal South Korean & U.S. Military Secrets

Another case of our military leaving itself open to hackers, reported in Seattlepi:

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s military said Friday it was investigating a hacking attack that netted secret defense plans with the United States and may have been carried out by North Korea.

The suspected hacking occurred late last month when a South Korean officer failed to remove a USB device when he switched a military computer from a restricted-access intranet to the Internet, Defense Ministry spokesman Won Tae-jae said.

The USB device contained a summary of plans for military operations by South Korean and U.S. troops in case of war on the Korean peninsula. Won said the stolen document was not a full text of the operational plans, but an 11-page file used to brief military officials. He said it did not contain critical information.

Won said authorities have not ruled out the possibility that Pyongyang may have been involved in the hacking attack by using a Chinese IP address – the Web equivalent of a street address or phone number.

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Hackers Face Off At The U.S. Cyber Challenge

Jeanne Meserve and Mike M. Ahlers cover the U.S. Cyber Challenge for CNN:

With the coolness of a card shark at the final table of the World Series of Poker, Matt Bergin pulls the hood of his brown sweatshirt over his head and concentrates on the task at hand.

The task: hacking into as many target computers as he can and then defending those computers from attacks by other skilled hackers.

Other skilled hackers like Michael Coppola, 17, a high school senior who, at this very moment, is hunched over a keyboard in his Connecticut home.

Or like Chris Benedict, 21, from the tiny town of Nauvoo, Illinois. Chris is sitting silently nearby, one of 15 “All Star” hackers who have taken over this spacious hotel conference room.

At days end, the moderator of this unusual computer challenge declares the best of the best: Benedict is the winner, king of the hacker hill, followed by Bergin and Coppola.

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