hacking saga 2
Tabloid offers abject apology for hacking actor’s mobile phone
June 9, 2011
LONDON: The News of the World has formally apologised to the actor Sienna Miller for systematically – and illegally – intercepting her mobile-phone messages in the mid-2000s and using the information to publish articles about her private life.
The apology comes as part of a settlement between Miller and the Sunday tabloid, which also agreed to pay her £100,000 ($153,000) in damages and costs.
It is the latest development in a long-running drama in which the newspaper has had to contend with growing evidence that its practice of hacking into the mobile phones of public figures, politicians and celebrities was widespread and pervasive.
At least four other people who say their phones were hacked into have reached out-of-court settlements with the newspaper; numerous lawsuits against it are still pending.
The newspaper has offered to settle with at least seven other possible victims of its phone-hacking practices.
The apology, read aloud in London’s High Court by a lawyer for News Group Newspapers, the subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News International that publishes the News of the World, was notable for how thorough, and how abject, it was.
The lawyer, Michael Silverleaf, said the company ”acknowledges that the information should never have been obtained in the manner it was” and that ”the private information should never have been published”.
The paper, he added, ”has accepted responsibility for misuse of private information, breach of confidence and harassment”.
Miller was not in court and did not make a statement. But her lawyer, David Sherborne, said that in 2005 and 2006 the News of the World published numerous articles containing ”intrusive and private information” about her, much to her puzzlement.
She did not know ”whether someone close to her was leaking information or whether her mobile telephone was somehow being hacked into”, Mr Sherborne said. ”Both possibilities were extremely distressing.”
The information was used for at least 11 articles about Miller’s private life, including details about her relationships with the actors Daniel Craig and Jude Law One drew on discussions between Law and Miller about their possibly having children together.
And there we go, I came to know about the renowned Ankit Fadia coming to my humble college & I was wondering if he will be different from those other security organizations who teach computer security & ethical hacking.
You must have a look @ Website Defacement Proves You are Impotent
How many of you use Google as a search engine ?
(Almost all of hands raised)
He Proclaimed – STOP USING THEM !!
How many of you use email services like Gmail, yahoo?
(A lot of hands raised)
He Exclaimed – STOP USING THEM !!
How many of you use internet ?
(again..some of hands raised)
STOP USING THEM !!
And behind the above “Stop Using Them!!” there were some cheesy reasons of privacy invasion & record tacking. I wondered why he was not educating about how to use services like Scroogle/TOR/SOCKS for safe surfing (albeit nothing is safe, but still, they provide a greater degree of anonymity). Then..it all begin.
“Well Mr Fadia, what if you block the Princeton university site ?”
pat came the nervous reply
” Appoint a junior of yours to go into local cybercafé to get the list, Xerox it and distribute in college”
Pure F**king Genius !
He went on to use SPYPIG to get IP of any person using an image. but he didn’t get on the point that what if a person has disabled image viewing on email. Anyways..it all ended with a lot of questions which he dodged by saying that there will be a query session in the end. Ah well..
Part 2 – the infamous NETBUS DEMO
- What happens if a person is behind a NATBOX/Router/Firewall, then there is no use of getting IP, it might not be forwarded at all. What then ?
- Trojans are invalid against Linux. What can you do to break into Linux Security ?
He responded by dodging the first question & diverting it to a social awareness bullshit & some problem solving (which I cant seem to remember cuz it was irrelevant). The second question was answered by saying that Windows is insecure & I myself use Ubuntu linux at home.
Again..Pure F**king Genius !
From that point i got the point that he has no point 😀
We moved on to the Steganography / Final session then.
The steganography session was started by exclaiming that he was contacted by FBI on 9/11 attacks (which i already knew as a matter of fact is fake courtesy of Attrition.Org& various LUG’s out there) & they used images of sexy women to transmit data into them. He used a tool to hide text data into image & reverse it, nothing special, if you have been a reader of my blog I guess you probably know that Nettools allow you to do that. Then he demonstrated Bluetooth hacking by using bluesnarf (just a scan) & website hacking using SQL injection (again..nothing special) with no logical explanation of how the injection worked. The session ended by “Roadside Sign hacking” in which he displayed pics on projector of hacked road signs by hackers at USA, Australia & other countries.
He then begin to advertise Dell laptops & the highly prestigious (READ: BELOW AVERAGE) AFCEH course conducted at Reliance Webworld. Then he ran away cuz he was running short of time & no Query Session was conducted.
Aftermath : Pure F**king Genius !
I guess you realize what I felt for the whole seminar & the whole Ankit Fraudia oops.. Fadia hype..Phone hacking: News of the World apologises to Sienna Miller
Paper offers ‘sincere apologies’ in high court for intercepting voicemail messages intended for actor
Phone-hacking: Sienna Miller has received an official apology from the News of the World in the high court. Photograph: Ian West/PA
The News of the World on Tuesday issued a detailed formal apology forphone hacking for the first time, to actor Sienna Miller.A lawyer for News Group Newspapers, the News International subsidiary that publishes the News of the World, read a statement in the high court expressing regret for intercepting voicemail messages intended for Miller.NGN’s QC, Michael Silverleaf, said his client offered its “sincere apologies” to Miller for “the distress caused to her by accessing of her voicemail messages, the publication of the private information in the articles and the related harassment she suffered as a consequence”.Silverleaf added that NGN “acknowledges that the information should never have been obtained in the manner it was, the private information should never have been published and that the first defendant [NGN] has accepted responsibility for misuse of private information, breach of confidence and harassment”.Miller, who was not present to hear the statement, accepted an out-of court-payment of £100,000 in damages last month plus her legal costs. Her solicitor Mark Thomson, a partner at Atkins Thomson, said she would not be making a statement.David Sherborne QC, for Miller, reminded the high court that she had changed her mobile phone number three times in as many months in a bid to avoid being successfully targeted by the News of the World and Glenn Mulcaire, a private detective who formerly worked for the paper.Sherborne added that the News of the World had published “numerous articles” in 2005 and 2006 that used private information.By admitting to this, the paper has conceded that it used information obtained by intercepting messages about Miller’s former partner Jude Law and ex-boyfriend Daniel Craig, as the basis for stories.In her statement of claim, the actor cited 11 articles that drew on private information, including details of her relationship with Law and with Craig, and Miller’s discussions with the former about the possibility of them having children. Miller is the first celebrity to settle a claim since the tabloid, part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, in April admitted hacking the phones of several public figures and offered to pay compensation.
NGN has also said it will tell Miller privately about the full extent of the phone-hacking scheme.Sherborne said: “The claimant did not know whether someone close to her was leaking information or whether her mobile telephone was somehow being hacked into. Both possibilities were extremely distressing.”Notes found in Mulcaire’s notebook, which was seized in a police raid in 2006, included three of Miller’s mobile numbers and their related account numbers, pin numbers, the numbers she dialled to access her voicemail services and the passwords she used to discuss her accounts with her mobile phone provider.He had also made a note of the fact that the first two numbers were “dead” by 22 November 2005. He had obtained and written down the address and home telephone number of Miller’s mother and similar mobile phone data relating to Law’s account and that of Ciara Parkes, Miller’s publicist and friend.Mulcaire also had details of who had left messages on her mobile, the time they had done so and the caller’s telephone number.He had written the name “Ian” in the top left hand corner of some of the pages in his notebooks which contained that information.Miller claimed that was a reference to Ian Edmondson, the former assistant editor (news) at the News of the World, who was suspended in January and subsequently sacked. He was arrested and questioned by police in April.
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Sienna Miller – News Corp Apologizes For Hacking Actress’s Phone
News Corp Apologizes For Hacking Actress’s Phone
Ending a long and persistent battle against Rupert Murdoch’s powerful News Corp, actress Sienna Miller accepted £100,000 (about $160,000) from the corporation and anapology for hacking her voicemail in order to obtain information about her relationship with Jude Law that it published in its Sunday tabloid News of the World. The apology came to 15 paragraphs. The key one was this “The information should never have been obtained in the manner it was, the private information should never have been published and [the News of the World ] has accepted liability for misuse of private information, breach of confidence and harassment.” In her claim, Miller said that she had obtained information from Vodaphone that Glenn Mulcaire, a private detective working for the tabloid, had obtained PIN numbers for nine mobile phones used to acquire information for stories about her private life. Three of the PIN numbers for her own phones, three for those of her publicist, Clara Parkes, one for Law, another for Law’s assistant, Ben Jackson, and another for her friend, Archie Keswick. (Miller’s stepmother, interior designer Kelly Hoppen, is also suing the media organization, claiming that her phone was also hacked.)
Anonymous Hacks Indian Site in Fight Against Corruption
Hacker group Anonymous has come out in support of a civil movement against corruption in India by hacking one of the websites of a government IT organization.
Until now a large number of the hacks of websites in India were part of an ongoing cyber war between Indian and Pakistani hacker groups.
Anonymous put up its logo and a message for the country’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the website of theNational Informatics Center according to The Hacker News. The page could not be accessed by Tuesday, but a cache of it on Google Search confirmed that it had been defaced by Anonymous.”There is no use securing. There is no use of spending on forensic. Get this message clear Mr. Prime Minister and others”, the message read.The NIC is responsible for promoting and implementing IT projects including e-governance projects in the country.A cached image on Google search suggests that the hacked part of the site was primarily an e-governance newsletter of NIC. On Tuesday this part of the NIC site was “under maintenance”.NIC did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. There was however no data stolen by the hack, or any damage done, according to a government expert on cyber security. “This was more a playful threat, that exploited some weaknesses of the NIC site,” the official said on condition of anonymity.A large number of Indians have rallied behind social activist Anna Hazare and a yoga guru Baba Ramdev in a fight against corruption in India. Ramdev’s fast in Delhi was broken up over the weekend by the police, and he and his supporters were evicted from the venue.Anonymous said in a message on Twitter that the NIC site had been defaced because of violence against Ramdev by the central government. Earlier it extended an invitation through Twitter for users to join in an operation against corruption in India.
Anonymous has also set up an Operation India page on Facebook, and an account on Twitter to carry on the fight against corruption in India.In another high-profile hack in the country, the website of India’s top investigation agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation, was hacked in December by a Pakistani group that said they it was taking revenge for similar attacks on websites in Pakistan. India and Pakistan have a long-standing dispute over Kashmir, which has spilled over online. The CBI site was not restored for weeks after the hack.India’s Minister of State for Communications & Information Technology, Sachin Pilot, told Parliament in May that the Government has taken several measures to detect and prevent cyber attacks and espionage. By computer security guidelines issued by Government, no sensitive information is to be stored on systems that are connected to Internet, he said.The government has also formulated a Crisis Management Plan for countering cyber attacks and cyber terrorism for implementation by all ministries and departments of the federal, and state governments and critical sectors, Pilot said. Ministries and departments have also been advised to audit their IT systems regularly. Most often these guidelines are not taken seriously and a large number of hacks could have been avoided, an analyst said on condition of anonymity.
NEW YORK | Wed Jun 8, 2011 4:36am IST
(Reuters Breakingviews) – This may go down as the year of the hack, with Sony and Amazon among the targets. But the compromising of information on almost 40 million RSA security tokens, which protect sensitive military and financial networks, may be the most serious instance. Cybersecurity efforts — and spending — suddenly look inadequate.RSA’s devices are familiar in the worlds of banking and government. The keychain-like gadgets generate a six-digit number every minute or so. Users must enter the number along with a user name and password to access a network. Unfortunately, a sophisticated attack on RSA, the security division of EMC (EMC.N), suggests that a group of hackers found a way around the first part of the process.Fortunately, that still left other security walls in place, such as passwords. Moreover, the attacks seemed extremely specific — defense contractors including Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) seem to have been the only parties that have been subject to attempts to break into their systems. Unfortunately, this relatively good news isn’t enough in the world of computing security.Passwords can be broken through simple means such as calling users and saying that “IT needs your password to update your system”. And financial companies can’t rest easy knowing they haven’t yet been targeted. A foreign power willing to steal sophisticated U.S. weapons systems may also be interested in destabilizing America’s financial system — and enterprises in places not friendly with the West might worry the same the other way around.RSA’s offer to issue new tokens should prevent further intrusions this time. Yet the possibility that companies, especially financial institutions, could have seen their crown jewels exposed will surely cause consternation in executive suites. And with computer networks increasingly critical to global business and powerful technology readily accessible to governments, criminals and amateur hackers alike, the recent attacks won’t be the last such effort.
Consultancy Forrester estimates that security ate up about 8 percent of North American and European corporate IT budgets in 2007, and that figure grew to 14 percent in 2010. With companies now anxious not to be the ones hacked next time, that figure looks sure to go up.
— RSA, the security division of EMC, on June 6 offered to replace customers’ security tokens after defense contractors including Lockheed Martin were attacked by hackers. The assaults were made possible by a breach of RSA’s internal network that in turn compromised the security tokens. The company admitted on March 17 that there had been an intrusion.
— SecurID is an authentication system that allows two forms of security. The keychain-like devices generate a six-digit number every minute or so. Users must enter the number along with a user name and password to access a network.
— RSA offered to replace tokens for customers and is working to bolster other layers of customers’ security. RSA has issued more than 40 million of the devices.
• UK Arrests Man Accused of Organizing Money ‘mules’
The man, whose name was not released, made an appearance in an Athens court on Tuesday. He faces charges of computer fraud, forgery, data use and violations related to the possession of guns and flares, according to the Hellenic Police. U.S. and French authorities assisted in the investigation.Authorities allege the man conducted the attacks with software used to create botnets, which are computers that are hacked and then remotely controlled by an attacker often without the knowledge of the computer’s owner, according to an official at the Secretariat General of Communication, part of Greece’s Ministry of Interior.It is suspected he also conducted distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks, a type of attack that usually intends to make a website become unavailable. The attacks occurred in February 2008 and February 2009 when the man was 16 years old.The man was arrested in a Monday raid where police seized two laptops, hard disks, two pistols, €7,850 (US$11,461) plus $3,000 in cash hidden inside a book modified to secretly store the money. They also confiscated 125 blank credit cards and five that had been encoded with account information not belonging to the man.Send news tips and comments to email@example.com
(Reuters) – A recent cyber breach at EMC Corp’s RSA security division and a related attack at defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp have damaged RSA’s once-stellar reputation, according to industry experts.That has given companies that sell alternatives to RSA’s SecurIDs, such as Symantec Corp and Vasco Data Security International, more room to try to win customers from EMC.SecurIDs are widely used electronic keys to computer systems, designed to thwart hackers by requiring two passcodes: one that is fixed and another that is automatically generated every few seconds by the security system.Symantec is paying new customers $5 for every SecurID they trade in for similar technology from Symantec.RSA’s reputation took an initial hit in March when it disclosed that hackers had stolen information that could be used to reduce the effectiveness of SecurID devices in keeping intruders from accessing corporate networks.That was particularly embarrassing as the hack came just a month after RSA published a paper advising companies on how to avoid the same kind of sophisticated attacks to which it fell victim.RSA’s reputation took a second hit last month when hackers tried to breach defense contractor Lockheed Martin using technology stolen from RSA.”You have this established position as a security vendor. You’re supposed to be protecting everybody else from the bad guys and you get hacked,” said Brian Freed, an analyst with brokerage Wunderlich Securities.He said there was a general perception that RSA was “less than forthcoming” about what had happened.Lockheed Martin on June 4 disclosed the links between the attacks on its network and RSA. RSA on Monday offered to replace the 30 million to 40 million SecurID tokens in use by its customers.
RSA is small in terms of EMC’s revenue, last year accounting for $730 million, or 4 percent, of its $17 billion in sales. Yet it is a high-profile asset whose technology EMC has used to secure the company’s other products, including its software and data storage equipment.EMC’s shares have fallen 5 percent since the Lockheed news, in line with a 4 percent drop in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.While Lockheed was investigating the attack, RSA Executive Chairman Art Coviello sold $1.44 million in EMC shares in a May 24 transaction. Coviello could not be reached for comment and EMC spokesman Michael Gallant declined comment on the timing of the stock sale.Companies that replace their tokens should be safe from attack using information stolen from RSA, Gallant said in a statement. “We do not believe that the stolen information can be used as an element of an attack on any customer whose tokens were manufactured after the initial breach,” he said.Rick Moy, CEO of security consulting firm NSS Labs, said that it is possible that hackers could have already used that information to break into other companies over the past few months without being detected.”Resetting those tokens may be too late,” he said. “It’s hard to know. RSA hasn’t provided enough detail for folks to figure out on their own what their risk profile is.”
Gallant declined to say if he knew of other companies that had been attacked as a result of the breach at RSA.Security experts who advise companies on which technologies to use to best protect their networks said that businesses should replace their SecurIDs as soon as possible with new ones. They also said that some big corporations have begun to look at alternatives to SecurIDs.
“Nobody I know of that’s a large company has completely moved off, but there are trials,” said Alex Stamos, an analyst with iSEC Partners.Besides alternatives from Symantec and Vasco, companies are looking at a free, open-source alternative that is promoted by Google Inc, Stamos said.
Companies download the software onto their own servers, which means that no single third party like RSA controls the “keys” to all of the IDs using that standard, Stamos said.
Rather than working with physical tokens, the new open standard is designed to send passwords to mobile phones. Google offers a free version for securing access to its Gmail web email service.
Dell Inc’s SecureWorks security division has been advising customers to abandon SecurIDs, saying the technology has holes in it that hackers have long been able to exploit.
For example, a hacker can intercept a SecurID password when a user enters it into a computer and take control of a session, said Joe Stewart, director of malware research for Dell SecureWorks.
“These latest problems are just another nail in the coffin,” Stewart said.
(Reporting by Jim Finkle. Editing by Tiffany Wu and Robert MacMillan)
The untold story of hacking: burglary, fraud and computer viruses
Evidence of private eye’s activities prompts calls for proper investigation
By Martin Hickman and Cahal Milmo
There are claims that Tony Blair, Kate Middleton and Sir John Stevens – the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police – were targeted
• Demands were made in Parliament yesterday for the police investigation into illegal information-gathering at the News of the World to be widened as MPs heard claims that senior political and public figures were targeted by a notorious private investigator working for Rupert Murdoch’s News International.
The Independent understands that they include Tony Blair while he was prime minister, senior Metropolitan Police officers, a Governor of the Bank of England and Kate Middleton.
Jonathan Rees, 56, whose shadowy detective agency earned £150,000 a year from the News of the World, was previously believed to have targeted celebrities using illicit surveillance techniques, which allegedly included burglary, computer hacking and false representation.
The suggestion that he was snooping on a serving prime minister on behalf of newspapers will place Scotland Yard under intense pressure to include his activities in Operation Weeting, the ongoing police inquiry into phone hacking by the NOTW.
The former Defence Minister Tom Watson told the Commons yesterday that he believed News International was implicated in Rees’s work and claimed that there was an attempt to thwart police from investigating.
As the normally raucous chamber fell silent, the Labour MP told the Prime Minister: “I believe powerful forces are involved in a cover-up. Please tell me what you intend to do to make sure that does not happen.” David Cameron replied that Scotland Yard was free to pursue the evidence wherever it led.
Scotland Yard last night issued a statement confirming that since the launch of Weeting in January it had received “a number of allegations” about intrusions of privacy that fell outside its remit. A spokesman said: “These allegations are currently being considered.”
The Independent’s investigation, spanning the period 1997 to 2005 and gathered after contacts with journalists and private detectives, indicates that Rees targeted several leading figures in Tony Blair’s government. They included the Downing Street communications director Alistair Campbell, Jack Straw while he was Home Secretary and Peter Mandelson, who was overseeing take-overs and commercially sensitive decisions at the Department of Trade and Industry.
Rees, who was earlier this year cleared of murdering his former business partner, is also thought to have accessed the private financial accounts of two very senior figures at the Bank of England and targeted the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir John Stevens.
Until now, the Yard has concentrated on the activities of Glenn Mulcaire, the amateur footballer turned private investigator who was paid by the NOTW to hack into the mobile phone voicemails of celebrities and public figures including the former Cabinet minister Tessa Jowell.
But the Metropolitan Police, which was heavily criticised for its limited original investigation of Mr Mulcaire, is refusing to investigate the trove of surveillance data detailling Rees’s dealings with the NOTW and other Fleet Street titles, including the Daily Mirror, gathered while it was secretly investgating him for alleged murder and police corruption.
The private detective, who employed a network of corrupt police officers, is understood to have used a range of techniques from his office in an unglamorous corner of south London including the planting of Trojan viruses contained within emails to read data on computers and employing a “blagger” to trick banks into revealing details of accounts held by high-profile individuals, including members of the Royal Family.
Mr Watson said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers, the officer leading Operation Weeting, had told him that the activities of Mr Rees may well fall outside her remit.
He said: “The Metropolitan Police are in possession of paperwork which details the dealings of criminal private investigator Jonathan Rees. It strongly suggests that on behalf of News International he was illegally targeting members of the Royal Family, senior politicians and high-level terrorist informants. Yet the head Operation Weeting has recently written to me to explain that this evidence may be outside her terms of reference.”
Mr Cameron said he was unaware of any terms of reference governing the Met’s investigation, adding: “They are able to look at any evidence and all evidence they can find.”
Rees was a key figure in a network of private detectives working for Britain’s newspapers in the 1990s and the last decade. After a period of earning six-figure sums from the NOTW and frequent commissions from other titles, he was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment in December 2000 after he was caught plotting to frame a former model by planting cocaine in her car.
After he was released from jail in 2004, only News International continued to employ the disgraced investigator after he was rehired by the NOTW under the editorship of Andy Coulson, who resigned from that role in 2007 after taking responsibility for the phone hacking scandal. Coulson, who has always denied any knowledge of Mr Mulcaire’s activities, resigned as Mr Cameron’s director of communications in January over continuing disclosures which destroyed the NOTW’s insistence hacking had been restricted to a single “rogue” reporter.
The dossier of evidence compiled about Mr Rees suggests that illicit newsgathering techniques were more serious and widespread even that suggested by the phone hacking affair, in which the NOTW eavesdropped on a swath of public figures including Princes William and Harry and Sienne Miller.
Rees’s alleged political activities encompassed a far wider range of politicians than Prime Minister, Home Secretary and Trade Secretary. Among the other targets were the former Conservative MP David Mellor, who as the former national heritage secretary threatened tighter regulation of the press and who was subsequently disgraced for his affair with an actress obtained with the help of covert recording equipment.
Gerald Kauffman, the Labour MP who chaired the Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport – whose remit includes newspapers – between 1992 and 2005, may also have been targeted by Mr Rees along with Gaynor Regan, the mistress and later wife of Robin Cook, the senior Labour MP and Foreign Secretary.
Among police, his suspected targets included Sir John Stevens, now Baron Stevens of Kirkwhelpington, the career policeman who sought to root our corruption and incompetence at the Met when he ran the UK’s biggest police force between 2000 and 2005.
He also allegedly targeted Assistant Commissioner John Yates, the most senior counter-terrorism officer. Mr Yates was criticised by MPs for failing to re-open the investigation into phone hacking last year following the discovery of secret settlements between News International and the publicist Max Clifford and Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association.
Another figure believe to have been targeted was Ian Hurst, an ex-British Army intelligence officer who had been running informers in an undercover unit in Northern Ireland. After he left the intelligence service, Mr Hurst was in close contact with Alfredo Scappaticci, or Stakeknife, an IRA informant whose cover was blown, forcing him to move between a series of safe houses.
At the Bank of England, the private investigator is suspected of conducting illict inquiries into members of the Monetary Policy Committee, which sets interest rates.
Southern Investigations are believed to have obtained financial details of the Queen’s cousin, the Duke of Kent and his wife the Duchess of Kent.
Bank account information was also allegedly sought on the seventh in line to the throne Prince Edward and his wife Sophie who were the subject of press speculation about their finances.
Information was sought on Kate Middleton, amid speculation that Prince William was about to announce their engagement.
Rees’s secret work for newspapers could only be reported following his trial for the murder of his former business partner, Daniel Morgan, which collapsed earlier this year following mistakes by Scotland Yard.
News International said: “It is well documented that Jonathan Rees and Southern Investigations worked for a whole variety of newspaper groups. With regards to Tom Watson’s specific allegations, we believe these are wholly inaccurate. The Met Police, with whom we are co-operating fully in Operation Weeting, have not asked us for any information regarding Jonathan Rees.”
Jonathan Rees and the media
March 1987 Daniel Morgan, Rees’s business partner, is murdered in a south London pub car park. Detectives investigate claims that he was about to expose police corruption.
April 1999 Launch of Operation Nigeria, a new investigation into the murder and the sale of illegally-obtained information by Rees to newspapers.
September 2000 Rees is convicted, along with a detective, of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. No journalists are charged.
May 2004 Rees is released and re-employed by the NOTW under Andy Coulson.
January 2005 Glenn Mulcaire begins to hack the voicemails of celebrities on behalf of the NOTW.
August 2006 Mulcaire is arrested and convicted of illegally accessing phone messages.
April 2008 Rees is charged with the murder of Morgan, and three years later is acquitted. Scotland Yard confirms it has several hundred thousand pages of evidence from its investigations.
A brief history of hacking
By Mark WardTechnology correspondent, BBC News
Sony has suffered a series of attacks by a variety of hacking groups
Continue reading the main story
• Nintendo server hit by hackers
• RSA offers to replace ID tokens
• E-mail hack attacks an ‘epidemic’
The world is full of hackers, or so it seems. In the past few months barely a day has gone by without news of a fresh security breach.
Multi-national companies have been left counting the cost of assaults on their e-mail systems and websites.
Members of the public have had their personal information stolen and pasted all over the internet.
In the early decades of the 21st century the word “hacker” has become synonymous with people who lurk in darkened rooms, anonymously terrorising the internet.
But it was not always that way. The original hackers were benign creatures. Students, in fact.
To anyone attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during the 1950s and 60s, a hack was simply an elegant or inspired solution to any given problem.
Many of the early MIT hacks tended to be practical jokes. One of the most extravagant saw a replica of a campus police car put on top of the Institute’s Great Dome.
Over time, the word became associated with the burgeoning computer programming scene, at MIT and beyond. For these early pioneers, a hack was a feat of programming prowess.
Such activities were greatly admired as they combined expert knowledge with a creative instinct.
Those students at MIT also laid the foundations for hacking’s notorious gender divide. Then, as now, it tended to involve mainly young men and teenage boys.
The reason was set out in a book about the first hacker groups written by science fiction author Bruce Sterling.
Continue reading the main story
2011 high profile hack attacks
6 June – Nintendo hit by Lulz Security
5 June – Sony Pictures Russia database leaked
3 June – Sony Europe database leaked
3 June – 10,000 Iranian government e-mails stolen by Anonymous
2 June – Sony Pictures database leaked
1 June – Defence group L-3 discloses it was hit in attack
1 June – Google reveals Gmail attack
30 May – Fake story about Tupac posted to PBS website
29 May – Honda Canada reveals 283,000 records stolen
27 May – Lockheed Martin reveals it has been hit by a hack attack
24 May – Sony Music Japan hacked
19 May – Nasa loses data to TinKode
Young men are largely powerless, he argued. Intimate knowledge of a technical subject gives them control, albeit over over machines.
“The deep attraction of this sensation of elite technical power should never be underestimated,” he wrote.
His book, The Hacker Crackdown, details the lives and exploits of the first generation of hackers.
Most were kids, playing around with the telephone network, infiltrating early computer systems and slinging smack talk about their activities on bulletin boards.
This was the era of dedicated hacking magazines, including Phrack and 2600.
The individuals involved adopted handles like Fry Guy, Knight Lightning, Leftist and Urvile.
And groups began to appear with bombastic names, such as the Legion of Doom, the Masters of Deception, and Neon Knights.
As the sophistication of computer hackers developed, they began to come onto the radar of law enforcement.
During the 1980s and 90s, lawmakers in the USA and UK passed computer misuse legislation, giving them the means to prosecute.
A series of clampdowns followed, culminated in 1990 with Operation Sundevil – a series of raids on hackers led by the US Secret Service.
But if Sundevil’s aim was to stamp out hacking in the United States, it failed.
As connected systems became ubiquitous, so novel groups of hackers emerged, keen to demonstrate their skills.
Grandstanding was all part of the job for collectives like L0pht Heavy Industries, the Cult of the Dead Cow, and the Chaos Computer Club, along with individuals such as Kevin Mitnick, Mafiaboy and Dark Dante.
In 1998, L0pht members famously testified to the US Congress that they could take down the internet in 30 minutes.
Nintendo has also been hit by hackers keen to embarrass the gaming giant
Mafiaboy showed what he could do by crashing the sites of prominent web firms such as Yahoo, Amazon, Ebay and CNN.
Dark Dante used his knowledge to take over the telephone lines of a radio show so he could be the 102nd caller and win a Porsche 944.
Such actions demonstrate how hackers straddle the line separating the legal and illegal, explained Rik Ferguson, senior security researcher at Trend Micro.
“The groups can be both black or white hat (or sometimes grey) depending on their motivation,” he said.
In hacker parlance, white hats are the good guys, black hats the criminals. But even then the terms are relative.
One man’s hacker could be another’s hacktivist.
If hacking was a business born in the US, it has gone truly global.
“In more recent times, groups emerged around the world in places as far flung as Pakistan and India, where there is fierce competition between the hackers,” said Mr Ferguson.
In Romania groups such as HackersBlog have hit various companies. In China and Russia, many hackers are believed to act as proxies for their governments.
Now, in 2011, it is hacker groups making the headlines once again.
The Lulz Security hacker group pays homage to early computing with an ASCII image on its website
Two in particular, Anonymous and Lulz Security, have come to prominence with high profile attacks on Sony, Fox, HBGary and FBI affiliate Infragard.
“These stunts are being pulled at the same time as national governments are wringing their hands about what to do in the event of a concerted network attack that takes out some critical infrastructure component,” said veteran cyber crime analyst Brian Krebs.
“It’s not too hard to understand why so many people would pay attention to activity that is, for the most part, old school hacking – calling out a target, and doing it for fun or to make some kind of statement, as opposed to attacking for financial gain,” he said.
A current favoured practice is to deface websites, leaving behind a prominent message – akin to the graffiti artist’s tag.
According to Zone-H, a website which monitors such activity, more than 1.5 million defacements were logged in 2010, far more than ever before.
2011 looks like it will at least reach that total.
The sudden growth in the number of hackers in not necessarily down to schools improving their computing classes or an increased diligence on the part of young IT enthusiasts.
Rather, the explosion can likely be attributed to the popularity of Attack Tool Kits (ATKs) – off the shelf programs designed to exploit website security holes. Such software is widely available on the internet.
Bruce Sterling, with his future gazing hat on, has a view of what that will mean.
“If turmoil lasts long enough, it simply becomes a new kind of society – still the same game of history, but new players, new rules,” he wrote.
And perhaps that is where we are now. Society’s rules are changing but we’re not sure who is doing the editing.
Targeted cyber attacks an ‘epidemic’
By Maggie ShielsTechnology reporter, BBC News, Silicon Valley
The attack was aimed at a small number of influential individuals who use Gmail
Continue reading the main story
• China rejects Gmail spying claims
• ‘China hackers’ hit Google e-mail
• US: Cyber-attack is ‘act of war’
The targeted attack used by hackers to compromise e-mail accounts of top US officials is reaching ‘epidemic’ proportions, say security experts.
The scam, known as spear phishing, was used in a bid to get passwords of Gmail accounts so they could be monitored.
Via a small number of customised messages it tries to trick people into visiting a web page that looks genuine so users type in login names.
Such attacks are often aimed at top officials or chief executives.
Such attacks are not new, say security professionals, but they are becoming more commonplace.
“What is happening more and more is the targeting of a couple of high value individuals with the one goal of acquiring valuable information and valuable data,” said Dan Kaminsky, chief scientist at security firm DKH.
“The most interesting information is concentrated in the accounts of a few people,” he said. “Attackers using information to impersonate the users is at epidemic proportions and why computer security is in the state it is in.”
In March, security firm RSA was hit by a sophisticated spear-phishing attack that succeeded despite only two attacking e-mails being sent. The phishing e-mail had the subject line “2011 Recruitment Plan” and contained a booby-trapped spreadsheet.
Google said it uncovered the deception through a combination of cloud based security measures, abuse detections systems and user reports. It also cited work done by a website called contagio dump.
The founder of the site is technologist and researcher Mila Parkour who said the method used in this attack was “far from being new or sophisticated”.
The RSA attack involved two e-mails sent to a small group of high-value individuals.
She told the BBC she was first alerted to the problem by one individual back in February. She would not reveal their name or position.
Google said that among those targeted were senior US government officials, military personnel, journalists, Chinese political activists and officials in several Asian countries, predominately South Korea.
“Someone shared the incident with me,” she said. “I did a mini research and analysis and posted the findings as I heard it happened to other people in the military and US government. I just wanted them to be aware and be safe.”
Ms Parkour said attackers got access to the entire mailboxes of victims.
“I did not read the contents of the mailbox so not sure if anything extra interesting was there,” she said. “I hope not.”
Cyber attacks originating in China have become common in recent years, said Bruce Schneier, chief security technology officer at telecoms firm BT.
“It’s not just the Chinese government,” he said. “It’s independent actors within China who are working with the tacit approval of the government.”
defence firm Lockheed Martin was also hit by a cyber attack aimed at stealing secrets
China has said repeatedly it does not condone hacking, which remains a popular hobby in the country, with numerous websites offering cheap courses to learn the basics.
In 2010 Google was the victim what it called a “highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China” that it said resulted in the theft of intellectual property.
Last year, US. investigators said there was evidence suggesting a link between the Lanxiang Vocational School in Jinan and the hacking attacks on Google and over 20 other firms. The school denied the report.
Security experts said spear phishing attacks were easy to perpetrate because of the amount of information people put on the internet about themselves on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
The mountain of data lets canny hackers piece together enough information to make e-mails they concoct appear convincing and genuine.
In this attack, some Gmail users received a message that looked like it came from a work colleague or was linked to a work project.
On Ms Parkour’s site, she shows some of the spoof e-mails indicating how easy it was for people to be hoodwinked.
“It makes sense these bad guys would go that way given the amount of time, effort and investment they have to make in orchestrating an attack,” said Dr Hugh Thompson, chief security strategist at People Security who also teaches at Columbia University.
People tend to trust messages that look like they come from people bearing details of where they last met or what they did, he said.
“I can then point you to a site that looks very much like Gmail and you are not going to question that because I already have your trust,” he said.
Steve Durbin, head of the Information Security Forum, said phishing attacks were a well-established attack method and e-mail had long been a favourite among criminals keen to winkle out saleable data.
“Whether you are a government official with access to sensitive or secret information, or the average e-mail user, everyone must be on their guard and become more security savvy,” he said.
Organisations needed to educate users about the real and potential risks they face.
Mr Kaminsky said some of the fault for such security lapses lay at the feet of the outdated technologies we use.
“Passwords don’t work as an authentication technology,” said Mr Kaminsky.
“They are too flexible, too transferable and too easy to steal,” he said. “However, we are stuck with them for now due to technical limitations and because users find them easy to use.”
Nintendo server attacked by hacking group Lulz Security
Gaming console makers have been the target of attacks by hacking group Lulz security
Continue reading the main story
• Q&A: Lulz Security hacker group
• Sony investigating another hack
• Sony websites in new hack attack
Nintendo has become the latest company to suffer an online security breach due to an attack by hackers, Lulz Security.
The Japanese game company said that a server of one of its affiliates in the US was attacked by the group some weeks ago.
Lulz Security is the same group that attacked the websites of Sony over the past few weeks.
However, the maker of the Wii said that no consumer data or company information was lost.
“There were no third-party victims,” company spokesman Ken Toyoda said.
“But it is a fact, there was some kind of possible hacking attack,” he added.
Over the past few months, there has been a spate of attacks by hackers on the websites of leading companies resulting in the loss of valuable consumer data.
Japanese electronics maker Sony suffered a massive security breach earlier this year when hackers targeted the PlayStation Network and the details of 77 million users were compromised.
However in this case, Nintendo says there was no consumer data stored on the server accessed by the hackers and the company insists it is constantly working to ensure consumer safety.
“The protection of our customer information is our utmost priority,” said Tomokazu Nakaura of Nintendo Japan.
“Therefore, we constantly monitor our security,” he added.
FBI Will Increase Efforts to Battle Computer Hacking, Mueller Testifies
By Justin Blum – Jun 8, 2011 10:06 AM PT
The FBI plans to step up its focus on fighting computer crime as it grapples with cyber intrusions at companies such as Google Inc. (GOOG) and Sony Corp. (6758)
“We will increasingly put emphasis on addressing cyber threats in all of their variations,” Robert Mueller, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said today at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on extending his term.
The FBI and other U.S. law enforcement agencies are confronting a wave of computer crime that’s highly organized and hard to combat with traditional methods.
Attacks are coming from organized crime groups based in Eastern Europe and Russia, from industrial spies in China and from groups of hackers in the U.S. and elsewhere who seem more interested in publicity than in making a profit from their crimes.
The FBI has failed to make arrests in many of the most high-profile hacking attacks of the past two years.
The FBI will ensure that “the personnel in the bureau have the equipment, the capability, the skill, the experience to address those threats,” Mueller told lawmakers.
A review in April by the Justice Department’s inspector general found that some FBI agents who investigate national security-related computer intrusions lacked needed technical skills. Of 36 agents interviewed, 13 were deficient in at least some of the necessary capabilities, according to the inspector general.
Last week, Google revealed an attempted hack, originating in China, into the Gmail accounts of U.S. government officials, military personnel and journalists. Days before that, military contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) said its network had been penetrated by an unknown intruder.
Cyber thieves stole the account data of 100 million global customers from Sony computer networks in April, the second- largest data breach in U.S. history, according to the Open Security Foundation.
Lawmakers are considering extending Mueller’s term by two years at the request of PresidentBarack Obama.
Mueller, 66, took over as FBI director a week before Sept. 11, 2001, and his 10-year term is scheduled to end in September. Congressional approval is needed to allow him to stay in office.
Nominated by President George W. Bush, he previously served as a U.S. attorney in San Francisco and was an officer in the Marine Corps.
Citibank confirms hacking attack
The bank is under fire for not telling customers about the May breach
Continue reading the main story
• RSA offers to replace ID tokens
• Nintendo server hit by hackers
• Sony investigating another hack
Hackers have stolen data from thousands of Citibank customers in the US, the bank has confirmed.
The breach exposed the names of customers, account numbers and contact information.
But other key data, such as date of birth and card security codes were not compromised, the bank said in a statement.
Citigroup is the latest in a string of high profile companies to be targeted by cyber criminals.
It has been criticised for not telling customers about the breach when it happened in May.
“We are contacting customers whose information was impacted. Citi has implemented enhanced procedures to prevent a recurrence of this type of event,” a Citi spokesman said in a statement to the Reuters news agency.
Around 200,000 customers were affected the statement said although earlier the bank had said it could affect up to 1% of its 21 million users.
It did not detail how the breach had occurred.
Security experts said the thieves may try to get hold of more information from those targeted.
“While Citi customers aren’t likely to have fraudulent charges against their accounts as a result of this breach, they are likely to encounter social engineering attempts to enable further crime,” blogged Chester Wisniewski, a consultant for security firm Sophos.
“Customers affected by this incident should be on high alert for scams, phishing and phone calls purporting to be from Citibank and their subsidiaries,” ge added.
Citigroup in the latest firm to be hacked in recent weeks. Japanese electronics group Sony is still recovering from the theft of millions of pieces of data from its network.
While security firm RSA has offered to replace the 40 million secure tokens used by people to log into banks after it emerged that key data that operates them had been stolen in March.
Harper hacked by hash brown
by Jesse Brown on Wednesday, June 8, 2011 12:25pm – 26 Comments
That title scans, but isn’t really accurate—forgive me. The more precise but less fun headline is:
Conservative Party website and Twitter account hacked, probably by LulzSec.
On Tuesday, hackers gained access to the CPC’s website, and proved it by posting a silly news update about Stephen Harper choking on a hash brown. Who was behind this “attack”? CBS is pointing to LulzSec, the same hacker entity that has thoroughly pwned Sony (6 times!), though LulzSec’s culpability is unconfirmed.
Tony Clement and Jack Layton, who rarely find themselves on the same page on any given issue, have found common ground on this one. Both feel very strongly that the prank was not funny. But they’re wrong—it’s *kinda* funny.
More than anything, it’s revealing. It reveals that anyone with hacking ability could speak as the Conservatives. It also reveals that the CPC’s online information is poorly managed—the fake news about the breakfast incident automatically generated an official Conservative party tweet, which spread the misinformation across the web. Because of this, the hoax reached anyone who follows the CPC on Twitter (probably every political reporter in the country) and not just those who happened to be on their website in the short time the joke was online. That’s pretty serious—Harper has made policy announcements via Twitter. If the hackers had been terrorists or fraudsters instead of pranksters, the damage might have been quite real.
LulzSec (or whoever) has done Harper and Canada a favour by pointing out a dangerous security vulnerability in a pretty innocuous, harmless and lulzy way. The Conservatives are justly embarrassed, and you can bet they’re tightening up their web security right now, and hopefully making sure that a pair of human eyes sees each tweet before it hits their feed.
When hacks like this occur, we focus on the wrong thing: Was it LulzSec or Anonymous? Who are LulzSec? Do they have anything to do with Julian Assange? Is it true that Assange wears pink satin underwear?
The meaningful stories here are about those who are hacked, not the hackers. Major security weaknesses in the U.S. military, the U.N., a multinational like Sony or the ruling party of Canada are far more pressing matters than the identities of helpful geeks who expose vulnerability instead of exploiting it.
U.K. Lawmaker Pushes for Expanding Newspaper Phone-Hacking Probe
By James Lumley – Jun 8, 2011 11:40 AM PT
London’s Metropolitan Police should expand a probe into illegal information-gathering by private investigators on behalf of U.K. newspapers, a lawmaker and a lawyer said.
Tom Watson, a Labour lawmaker, said in Parliament today that police were given information that a private investigator illegally targeted members of Britain’s royal family, senior politicians and high-level terrorist informants. Watson said the investigator is someone other than Glen Mulcaire, a private eye jailed in 2007 for accessing mobile-phone messages on behalf of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World Newspaper.
London attorney Mark Lewis said in a phone interview that he was acting on behalf of the people that made the complaint to the police over the most recent claims. He declined to name them citing “some issues relating to national security.”
Police in January opened a probe into alleged criminal activities at the News of the World newspaper after receiving “significant new information” from its U.K. parent, News International. Since then three people who have worked on the paper have been arrested and police confirmed in a statement today that they have received more complaints.
The department “can confirm that since January 2011 the MPS has received a number of allegations regarding breach of privacy which fall outside the remit of,” its current probe into the News of the World, the statement said. “These allegations are currently being considered.”
The Guardian reported that others who may have had their information compromised included former Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Bank of England Governor Mervyn King and Kate Middleton, the now wife of Prince William.
Daisy Dunlop, a spokeswoman for News International didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. A person at the BoE’s media office declined to comment.
To contact the reporter on this story: James Lumley in London at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apple iOS 5 hacked within 48 hours of its launch
• Text Size
June 8, 2011 9:02 PM EDT
A hacker has exploited the vulnerability of iOS 5 by hacking into the newly launched, but not yet released, mobile operating system.
iOS 5, which generated a lot of excitement during its launch on the opening day of the Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2011, is one of the most important software advancements made by the technology giant.
Inspection by TUAW sources, Apple’s “unofficial” weblog, have discovered references to two next-gen iPad models and a two iPhone 5 models while going through the USB device files of the iOS 5 firmware released on Monday.
WWDC Highlights Apple’s Software Foundation
Fruit Ninja makes its way into Kinect
iPhone 5 could still debut in June/July
iOS 5 reportedly comes with 1500 APIs and 200 new features. The ten most important features that promise to help the next generation iPhone beat rival Androidwere presented on the opening day of WWDC 2011. Some of them are Delta Updates, iMessages and improved Notifications.
A member of the iPhone Dev Team revealed throughTwitter that iOS 5 was susceptible to an exploit, limera 1n, which targets a vulnerability in the iOS 5 boot software.
MuscleNerd, who pointed out this matter describing himself as ‘iPhone hacker’ on his twitter profile, said “iOS 5 jailbroken on ipt4g … via limera1n + tethered boot” on his tweet. He also posted two photos of the jailbreak OS 5, with one of them showing iPhone’s home screen as the proof.
Apple said it plans to release a final version of iOS 5 this Fall.
Phone-hacking scandal widens to include Kate Middleton and Tony Blair
MP calls for expanded investigation as list grows of those allegedly hacked by Jonathan Rees for News International
Kate Middleton is among those who was allegedly targeted by Jonathan Rees. Photograph: Rex Features
Pressure is building on the Metropolitan police to expand their phone-hacking inquiry to include a notorious private investigator who was accused in the House of Commons on Wednesday of targeting politicians, members of the royal family and high-level terrorist informers on behalf of Rupert Murdoch’s News International.
Guardian inquiries reveal that the former prime minister Tony Blair is among the suspected victims of Jonathan Rees, who was involved in the theft of confidential data, the hacking of computers and, it is alleged, burglary. According to close associates of Rees, he also targeted:
• Jack Straw when he was home secretary, Peter Mandelson when he was trade secretary and Blair’s media adviser Alastair Campbell;
• Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex, and the Duke and Duchess of Kent, all of whom are said to have had their bank accounts penetrated, and Kate Middleton when she was Prince William’s girlfriend;
• The former commissioner of the Metropolitan police, Sir John Stevens, and the current assistant commissioner, John Yates, who later supervised the failed phone-hacking inquiry for 19 months;
• The governor and deputy governor of the Bank of England, whose mortgage account details were obtained and sold.
Rees, who worked for the Mirror Group as well as the New of the World, is also accused of using a specialist computer hacker in July 2006 to steal information about MI6 agents who had infiltrated the Provisional IRA. According to a BBC Panorama programme in March, Rees was commissioned by Alex Marunchak, then the News of the World’s executive editor, to hack the information from the computer of Ian Hurst, a former British intelligence officer in Northern Ireland who had stayed in contact with several highly vulnerable agents. Marunchak has denied the allegations.
The Guardian has previously identified other suspected targets of Rees, including Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, George Michael, Linford Christie, Gary Lineker, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, and the family of the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe.
None of these cases has been officially confirmed or even investigated. With many of them, it is not yet clear precisely what form of surveillance Rees and his agency, Southern Investigations, were using. Answers may lie in the “boxloads” of paperwork the Metropolitan police are believed to have seized from Rees.
But the Labour MP Tom Watson told the prime minister on Wednesday the head of the Operation Weeting inquiry into the News of the World’s investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, had told him that it may be beyond its terms of reference to investigate this evidence.
“Prime minister, powerful forces are attempting a cover-up,” Watson said. “Please tell me what you intend to do, to make sure this doesn’t happen.”
While Glenn Mulcaire worked for the News of the World as a full-time employee from 2001, Rees worked freelance for the Mirror Group and the News of the World from the mid 1990s. His agency was earning up to £150,000 a year from the News of the World alone. In 1999, he was arrested and sentenced to seven years for conspiring to plant cocaine on a woman so that her husband would get custody of their children.
After his release in May 2004, the News of the World continued to hire him under the editorship of Andy Coulson, who went on to become David Cameron’s media adviser. Rees’s targets during this period included Prince William’s then girlfriend, Kate Middleton.
On Wednesday, a News International spokesperson said: “It is well documented that Jonathan Rees and Southern Investigations worked for a whole variety of newspaper groups. With regards to Tom Watson’s specific allegations, we believe these are wholly inaccurate. The Met police, with whom we are co-operating fully in Operation Weeting, have not asked us for any information regarding Jonathan Rees. We note again that Tom Watson MP made these allegations under parliamentary privilege.”
Scotland Yard is believed to have collected hundreds of thousands of documents during a series of investigations into Rees over his links with corrupt officers, and over the 1987 murder of his former business partner, Daniel Morgan. Charges of murder against Rees were dismissed earlier this year.
Daniel Morgan’s brother, Alastair, who has been gathering information for a book, told the Guardian he was aware from his own investigations and from material revealed in court hearings that the Metropolitan police was holding “boxloads” of evidence on Rees’s activities. Guardian inquiries suggest that this paperwork could include explosive new evidence of illegal news-gathering by the News of the World and other papers.
According to journalists and investigators who worked with him, Rees exploited his position as a freemason to make links with masonic police officers who illegally sold him information on targets chosen by the News of the World, the Sunday Mirror and the Daily Mirror. One close contact, Det Sgt Sid Fillery, left the Metropolitan police to become Rees’s business partner and added more officers to their network. Fillery wassubsequently convicted of possession of indecent images of children.
Some police contacts are said to have been blackmailed into providing confidential information. One of Rees’s former associates claims that Rees had compromising photographs of serving officers, including one who was caught in a drunken coma with a couple of prostitutes and with a toilet seat around his neck. Rees claimed to be in touch with corrupt Customs officers, a corrupt VAT inspector and two corrupt bank employees.
An investigator who worked for Rees claims he was commissioning burglaries of public figures to steal material for newspapers. Southern Investigations has previously been implicated in handling paperwork which was stolen by a professional burglar from the safe of Paddy Ashdown’s lawyer, when Ashdown was leader of the Liberal Democrats. The paperwork, which was eventually obtained by the News of the World, recorded Ashdown discussing his fears that newspapers might expose an affair with his secretary.
The Guardian has confirmed that Rees also used two specialist “blaggers” who would telephone the Inland Revenue, the DVLA, banks and phone companies and trick them into handing over private data to be sold to Fleet Street.
One of the blaggers who regularly worked for him, John Gunning, was responsible for obtaining details of bank accounts belonging to Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex, which were then sold to the Sunday Mirror. Gunning was later convicted of illegally obtaining confidential data from British Telecom. Rees also obtained details of accounts at Coutts bank belonging to the Duke and Duchess of Kent. The bank accounts of Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, are also thought to have been compromised.
The Guardian has been told that Rees spoke openly about obtaining confidential data belonging to senior politicians and recorded their names in his paperwork. One source close to Rees claims that apart from Tony Blair, Straw, Mandelson and Campbell, he also targeted Gaynor Regan, who became the second wife of the foreign secretary, Robin Cook, the former shadow home secretary, Gerald Kaufman; and the former Tory minister David Mellor.
It is not yet known precisley what Rees was doing with these political targets, although in the case of Peter Mandelson, it appears that Rees obtained confidential details of two bank accounts which he held at Coutts, and his building society account at Britannia. Rees is also said to have targeted his brother, Miles Mandelson.
Separately, for the News of the World, Glenn Mulcaire was hacking the voicemail of the deputy prime minister, John Prescott, Straw’s successor as home secretary, David Blunkett, the media secretary, Tessa Jowell, and the Europe minister, Chris Bryant. Scotland Yard has repeatedly refused to reveal how many politicians were victims of phone hacking, although Simon Hughes, Boris Johnson and George Galloway have all been named.
The succesful hacking of a computer belonging to the former British intelligence officer Ian Hurst was achieved in July 2006 by sending Hurst an email containing a Trojan program which copied Hurst’s emails and relayed them to the hacker. This included messages he had exchanged with at least two agents who informed on the Provisional IRA – Freddie Scappaticci, codenamed Stakeknife; and a second informant known as Kevin Fulton. Both men were regarded as high-risk targets for assassination. Hurst was one of the very few people who knew their whereabouts. The hacker cannot be named for legal reasons.
There would be further security concern if Rees’s paperwork confirmed strong claims by those close to him that he claimed to have targeted the then Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir John Stevens, who would have had regular access to highly sensitive intelligence. Sir John’s successor, Sir Ian Blair, is believed to have been targeted by Glenn Mulcaire, although it has not been confirmed that Mulcaire succeeded in listening to his voicemail. Assistant commissioner John Yates was targeted by Rees when Yates was running inquiries into police corruption in the late 1990s. It appears that Yates did not realise that he himself had been a target when he was responsible for the policing of the phone-hacking affair between July 2009 and January 2011.
Targeting the Bank of England, Rees is believed to have earned thousands of pounds by penetrating the past or present mortgage accounts of the then governor, Eddie George, his deputy, Mervyn King, who is now governor, and half-a-dozen other members of the monetary policy committee.
According to police information provided to the Guardian in September 2002, an internal Scotland Yard report recorded that Rees and his network were engaged in long-term penetration of police intelligence and that “their thirst for knowledge is driven by profit to be accrued from the media”.
Operation Weeting has been investigating phone hacking by the News of the World since January. The paper’s assistant editor, Ian Edmondson, chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, and former news editor James Weatherup have been arrested and released on police bail.
On Wednesday, A police spokesman said: “[We] can confirm that since January 2011 the MPS [Metropolitan police service] has received a number of allegations regarding breach of privacy which fall outside the remit of Operation Weeting. These allegations are currently being considered.”
Anonymous hackers attack US security firm HBGary
HBGary’s website was replaced with a logo and statement from Anonymous
Continue reading the main story
• Police hold five over web attacks
• Wikileaks ‘data war’ gathers pace
• Who are hacktivists ‘Anonymous’?
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.
He said he did not intend to hand the information over to the authorities unless forced to, but did plan to present his findings at a conference in San Francisco later this month.
The attacks began shortly after his claims were made public, with a sustained attack that targeted him both personally and professionally.
Mr Barr’s Twitter account was filled with a sequence of racial and sexual slurs, along with a string of personal details such as his mobile phone and social security numbers.
Meanwhile, a message on the company’s website said that Anonymous had “seized” HBGary’s operation in order to defend itself.
Continue reading the main story
“You brought this upon yourself. Let us teach you a lesson you’ll never forget”
“You brought this upon yourself,” the statement said.
“Let us teach you a lesson you’ll never forget: don’t mess with Anonymous.”
The group said it had gained control of all the company’s e-mail, erased its files, taken down their phone systems and placed copies of many internal documents online.
Mr Barr could not be contacted for comment, but the hacked site was later replaced with a placeholder page.
Anonymous, which started as an offshoot of the notorious 4Chan internet messageboard, has been linked to a number of virtual and real-world protests over recent years.
As well as the Wikileaks attacks, it also orchestrated strikes on government services in Tunisia and Egypt in support of popular protests in those countries.
It has also launched vociferous protests for the right to uncensored access to pornography online and taken action against an anti-piracy firm hired by Bollywood studios.
It is involved in a long-running battle with the Church of Scientology, amid claims that the religious group stifles dissent.
The loosely-organised group has previously claimed it has no real leadership, although some individuals have come forward from time to time to explain their motives.
One, known as Coldblood, told the BBC in December that “thousands” of people had joined the protests to support Wikileaks’ right to publish the US government’s classified diplomatic cables.
“We are trying to keep the internet open and free but in recent years governments have been trying to limit the freedom we have on the internet,” he said at the time.
Coldblood confirmed to the BBC that he was among five people arrested across the UK last month as part of the police investigation into the Wikileaks protests.
Sony investigating another hack
• Sony websites in new hack attack
Sony is investigating another hacking attack on one of its websites.
A group called Lulz Security claims to have broken into Sonypictures.com and accessed details of a million users.
Passwords, home addresses and other personal information relating to several thousand of the accounts was released online.
It is the third major hack to hit Sony since April when the PlayStation Network was targeted and the details of 77 million users compromised.
Details of the latest attack were made available on the recently createdLulz Security website
A LulSec press release said: “SonyPictures.com was owned by a very simple SQL injection, one of the most primitive and common vulnerabilities, as we should all know by now.
“From a single injection, we accessed EVERYTHING. Why do you put such faith in a company that allows itself to become open to these simple attacks?”
SQL attacks are generally regarded as one of the more straightforward ways of gaining unauthorised access to a website.
Continue reading the main story
I’m not surprised by anything about Sony anymore”
Typically, an attacker will attempt to bypass the username and password system by sending code or characters that confuse the site’s programming.
The release also claims that user information on Sonypictures.com was stored in unencrypted, plain text format.
LulSec explained that it was unable to make the entire user database available, however it released a portion of it, totalling roughly 50,000 users.
Sony has yet to respond to the claims, but said in a tweet: “We are looking into the claims about reports of attacks on Sony Pictures websites. Please follow us for latest updates.”
Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at security firm F-Secure, said that another Sony breach had been almost inevitable.
“I’m not surprised by anything about Sony anymore,” he told BBC News.
“It will be hard for a company of that size to make sure they are secure if someone wants to go and find holes.”
Mr Hypponen said that Sony had become a preferred target of hackers because of the company’s long history of vigorously defending its intellectual property.
The Lulz website contains a few basic images along with details of its hacks
Most recently, it took legal action against a US hacker, George Hotz, who claimed to have cracked elements of the PlayStation’s security.
“That was the turning point. But it is easy to hate Sony, starting with the CD rootkit in 2005,” said Mr Hypponen, referring to an earlier scandal that erupted when it was discovered that some Sony music CDs had secretly installed copy protection software on users’ computers.
Little is known about the LulSec group, although they have claimed responsibility for recent attacks on several websites in the USA – Fox, PBS and XFactor.
It is understood to be a separate organisation from Anonymous, the “hacker collective” which has been linked to a number of high profile web attacks including several on Sony sites.
The latest attack has, once again, raised questions about the strength of security employed by Sony and other companies holding sensitive user data.
Much of the information taken in the Sony hacks was unencrypted and easily readable.
Mike Smart from cryptography specialists Safenet said that many companies were only applying their highest security protocols to data such as credit card numbers.
He explained that other “social” information was often given minimal protection.
“People can get through the front door. Now we have got to the stage that we need to lock the inside doors and put our documents in a safe.
Hacker (programmer subculture)
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A hacker is a member of the computer programmer subculture originated in the 1960s in the United States academia, in particular around the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s Tech Model Railroad Club (TMRC) and MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
The Jargon File, a compendium of hacker slang, defines hacker as “A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and stretching their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary.” The Request for Comments (RFC) 1392, the Internet Users’ Glossary, amplifies this meaning as “A person who delights in having an intimate understanding of the internal workings of a system, computers and computer networks in particular.” As documented in the Jargon File, these hackers are disappointed by the mass media and general public’s usage of the word hacker to refer to security breakers, calling them “crackers” instead. This includes both “good” crackers (“white hat hackers”) who use their computer security related skills and knowledge to learn more about how systems and networks work and to help to discover and fix security holes, as well as those more “evil” crackers (“black hat hackers”) who use the same skills to author harmful software (like viruses, trojans, etc.) and illegally infiltrate secure systems with the intention of doing harm to the system. The programmer subculture of hackers, in contrast to the cracker community, generally sees computer security related activities as contrary to the ideals of the original and true meaning of the hacker term that instead related to playful cleverness.
The prevalent meaning of hacker meaning security breaker has become so strong, that even within the computer context, many incorrectly believe the programmer subculture to be computer security related, too, and confusing it with white hat hackers. The actual ideals of the programmer subculture hackers have nothing to do with computer security. Rather, they are about the right to have a software system that can be freely studied, modified and shared with other hackers. This implies the rejection of any monopoly on knowledge of such systems. However, it does not, neither in theory, nor in practice, imply breaking into computers or exploiting security holes to achieve these goals.
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Before communications between computers and computer users was as networked as it is now, there were multiple independent and parallel hacker subcultures, often unaware or only partially aware of each others’ existence. All of these had certain important traits in common:
These sorts of subcultures were commonly found at academic settings such as college campuses. The MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the University of California, Berkeley andCarnegie Mellon University were particularly well-known hotbeds of early hacker culture. They evolved in parallel, and largely unconsciously, until the Internet, where a legendary PDP-10machine at MIT, called AI, that was running ITS, provided an early meeting point of the hacker community. This and other developments such as the rise of the free software movementdrew together a critically large population and encouraged the spread of a conscious, common, and systematic ethos. Symptomatic of this evolution were an increasing adoption ofcommon slang and a shared view of history, similar to the way in which other occupational groups have professionalized themselves but without the formal credentialing process characteristic of most professional groups.
Over time, the academic hacker subculture has tended to become more conscious, more cohesive, and better organized. The most important consciousness-raising moments have included the composition of the first Jargon File in 1973, the promulgation of the GNU Manifesto in 1985, and the publication of The Cathedral and the Bazaar in 1997. Correlated with this has been the gradual recognition of a set of shared culture heroes, including: Bill Joy, Donald Knuth, Dennis Ritchie, Alan Kay, Ken Thompson, Richard M. Stallman, Linus Torvalds, Larry Wall, andGuido Van Rossum.
The concentration of academic hacker subculture has paralleled and partly been driven by the commoditization of computer and networking technology, and has in turn accelerated that process. In 1975, hackerdom was scattered across several different families of operating systems and disparate networks; today it is largely a Unix and TCP/IPphenomenon, and is concentrated around various operating systems based on free software and open-source software development.
Ethics and principles
Main article: Hacker ethic
Many of the values and tenets of the free and open source software movement stem from the hacker ethics that originated at MIT and at the Homebrew Computer Club. The so-called Hacker Ethics were chronicled by Steven Levy in Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution and in other texts.
Hacker ethics are concerned primarily with sharing, openness, collaboration, and engaging in the Hands-On Imperative.
Artifacts and customs
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The Glider, proposed as an emblem of the “hacker community” by Eric S. Raymond.
The academic hacker subculture is defined by shared work and play focused around central artifacts. Some of these artifacts are very large; theInternet, the World Wide Web, the GNU Project, and the Linux kernel are all hacker creations, works of which the subculture considers itself primary custodian.
The academic hacker subculture has developed a rich range of symbols that serve as recognition symbols and reinforce its group identity. GNU’s Gnu; the BSD Daemon; Tux, the Linux penguin; and the Perl Camel stand out as examples. The use of the glider structure fromConway’s Game of Life as a general Hacker Emblem has been proposed by Eric S. Raymond.
The academic hacker subculture has an annual ceremonial day—April Fool’s. There is a long tradition of perpetrating elaborate jokes, hoaxes, pranks and fake websites on this date, which includes the publication of the annual joke RFC.
List of hacker groups
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Anonymous, a group of hackers originating in 2003.
Chaos Computer Club, is based in Germany and other German-speaking countries and currently has over 9,000 members.
Legion of Doom, a hacker group active from the 1980s to the late 1990s and early 2000.
Masters of Deception, initial membership grew from meetings on Loop-Around Test Lines that led to legendary collaborations to hack RBOC phone switches and the various minicomputers and mainframes used to administer the telephone network.
w00w00, is currently one of the largest non-profit security teams in the world with more than 30 active participants.
TESO, was a famous hacker group, which originated in Austria and quickly became international. It was active from 1998 to 2004, and during its peak around 2000, it was responsible for a significant share of the exploits on the bugtraq mailing list.
L0pht, was a hacker collective active between 1992 and 2000 and located in the Boston, Massachusetts area.
Cult of the Dead Cow, also known as cDc or cDc Communications, is a computer hacker and DIY media organisation founded in 1984 in Lubbock, Texas.
\Hacker (computer security)
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This article is part of a series on
Computer security hacking
Hacker Manifesto, Black hat, Grey hat,White hat, Black Hat Briefings, DEF CON
Computer crime, Crimeware,List of convicted computer criminals,Script kiddie
Vulnerability, Exploit, Payload
Rootkit, Backdoor, Trojan horse, Virus,Worm, Spyware, Botnet,Keystroke logging, Antivirus software,Firewall, HIDS
Computer insecurity, Application security,Network security
v • d • e
A hacker is a person who breaks into computers and computer networks for profit, in protest, or because they are motivated by the challenge. The subculture that has evolved around hackers is often referred to as the computer underground but it is now an open community.
Other definitions of the word hacker exist that are not related to computer security. They are subject to the long standing hacker definition controversy about the true meaning of hacker. In this controversy, the term hacker is reclaimed by computer programmers who argue that someone breaking into computers is better called a cracker, not making a difference between computer criminals (“black hats”) and computer security experts (“white hats”). Some white hat hackers claim that they also deserve the title hacker, and that only black hats should be called crackers.
Further information: Timeline of computer security hacker history
In today’s society understanding the term “hacker” is complicated because it has many different definitions. The term can be traced back to MIT (Massachusetts Institute Technology). MIT was the first institution to offer a course in computer programming and computer science and it is here in 1960 where a group of MIT students taking a lab on artificial intelligence first coined this word. These students called themselves hackers because they were able to take programs and have them perform actions not intended for that program. “The term was developed on the basis of a practical joke and feeling of excitement because the team member would “hack away” at the keyboard hours at a time.” (Moore R., 2006).
Hacking developed alongside phone phreaking, a term referred to exploration of the phone network without authorization, and there has often been overlap between both technology and participants. One of the first hacks was accomplished by Joe Engressia also known as The Whistler. Engressia is known as the grandfather of phreaking. His hacking technique was that he could perfectly whistle a tone into a phone and make a free call. Bruce Sterling traces part of the roots of the computer underground to the Yippies, a 1960s counterculture movement which published the Technological Assistance Program (TAP) newsletter. Other sources of early 1970s hacker culture can be traced towards more beneficial forms of hacking, including MIT labs and theHomebrew Computer Club, which later resulted in such things as early personal computers and the open source movement.
Artifacts and customs
The computer underground is heavily dependent technology. It has produced its own slang and various forms of unusual alphabet use, for example 1337speak. Writing programs and performing other activities to support these views is referred to as hacktivism. Some go as far as seeing illegal cracking ethically justified for this goal; a common form is website defacement. The computer underground is frequently compared to the Wild West. It is common among hackers to use aliases for the purpose of concealing identity, rather than revealing their real names.
Hacker groups and conventions
Main articles: Hacker conference and Hacker group
The computer underground is supported by regular real-world gatherings called hacker conventions or “hacker cons”. These draw many people every year including SummerCon (Summer), DEF CON,HoHoCon (Christmas), ShmooCon (February), BlackHat, Hacker Halted, and H.O.P.E.. In the early 1980s Hacker Groups became popular, Hacker groups provided access to information and resources, and a place to learn from other members. Hackers could also gain credibility by being affiliated with an elite group.
Several subgroups of the computer underground with different attitudes and aims use different terms to demarcate themselves from each other, or try to exclude some specific group with which they do not agree. Eric S. Raymond (author of The New Hacker’s Dictionary) advocates that members of the computer underground should be called crackers. Yet, those people see themselves as hackers and even try to include the views of Raymond in what they see as one wider hacker culture, a view harshly rejected by Raymond himself. Instead of a hacker/cracker dichotomy, they give more emphasis to a spectrum of different categories, such as white hat, grey hat, black hat and script kiddie. In contrast to Raymond, they usually reserve the term cracker. According to (Clifford R.D. 2006) a cracker or cracking is to “gain unauthorized access to a computer in order to commit another crime such as destroying information contained in that system”. These subgroups may also be defined by the legal status of their activities.
A white hat hacker breaks security for non-malicious reasons, for instance testing their own security system. This classification also includes individuals who perform penetration tests andvulnerability assessments within a contractual agreement. Often, this type of ‘white hat’ hacker is called an ethical hacker. The International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants, also known as the EC-Council has developed certifications, courseware, classes, and online training covering the diverse arena of Ethical Hacking.
A Black Hat Hacker is a hacker who “violates computer security for little reason beyond maliciousness or for personal gain”(Moore,2005). Black Hat Hackers are “the epitome of all that the public fears in a computer criminal”(Moore,2006). Black Hat Hackers break into secure networks to destroy data or make the network unusable for those who are authorized to use the network.
The way Black Hat Hackers choose the networks that they are going to break into is by a process that can be broken down into two parts. This is called the pre-hacking stage.
Part 1 Targeting Targeting is when the hacker determines what network to break into. The target may be of particular interest to the hacker, or the hacker may “Port Scan” a network to determine if it is vulnerable to attacks. A port is defined as “an opening through which the computer receives data via the network”(Moore,2005). Open ports will allow a hacker to access the system.
Part 2 Research and Information Gathering It is in this stage that the hacker will visit or contact the target in some way in hopes of finding out vital information that will help them access the system. The main way that hackers get desired results from this stage is from Social Engineering, which will be explained below. Aside from Social Engineering hackers can also use a technique called Dumpster Diving. Dumpster Diving is when a hacker will literally dive into a dumpster in hopes to find documents that users have thrown away, which will help them gain access to a network.
A grey hat hacker is a combination of a Black Hat and a White Hat Hacker. A Grey Hat Hacker may surf the internet and hack into a computer system for the sole purpose of notifying the administrator that their system has been hacked, for example. Then they may offer to repair their system for a small fee.
A social status among hackers, elite is used to describe the most skilled. Newly discovered exploits will circulate among these hackers. Elite groups such as Masters of Deception conferred a kind of credibility on their members.:86,90,117 Elite (e.g. 31337) gives the term leet speak its name.
A script kiddie is a non-expert who breaks into computer systems by using pre-packaged automated tools written by others, usually with little understanding of the underlying concept—hence the term script (i.e. a prearranged plan or set of activities) kiddie (i.e. kid, child—an individual lacking knowledge and experience, immature).
A neophyte, “n00b”, or “newbie” is someone who is new to hacking or phreaking and has almost no knowledge or experience of the workings of technology, and hacking.
A blue hat hacker is someone outside computer security consulting firms who is used to bug test a system prior to its launch, looking for exploits so they can be closed. Microsoft also uses the term BlueHat to represent a series of security briefing events.
A hacktivist is a hacker who utilizes technology to announce a social, ideological, religious, or political message. In general, most hacktivism involves website defacement or denial-of-service attacks. In more extreme cases, hacktivism is used as tool for cyberterrorism.
A typical approach in an attack on Internet-connected system is:
1. Network enumeration: Discovering information about the intended target.
2. Vulnerability analysis: Identifying potential ways of attack.
3. Exploitation: Attempting to compromise the system by employing the vulnerabilities found through the vulnerability analysis.
In order to do so, there are several recurring tools of the trade and techniques used by computer criminals and security experts.
Main article: Exploit (computer security)
A security exploit is a prepared application that takes advantage of a known weakness. Common examples of security exploits are SQL injection, Cross Site Scripting and Cross Site Request Forgery which abuse security holes that may result from substandard programming practice. Other exploits would be able to be used through FTP, HTTP, PHP, SSH, Telnet and some web-pages. These are very common in website/domain hacking.
A vulnerability scanner is a tool used to quickly check computers on a network for known weaknesses. Hackers also commonly use port scanners. These check to see which ports on a specified computer are “open” or available to access the computer, and sometimes will detect what program or service is listening on that port, and its version number. (Note that firewalls defend computers from intruders by limiting access to ports/machines both inbound and outbound, but can still be circumvented.)
Password cracking is the process of recovering passwords from data that has been stored in or transmitted by a computer system. A common approach is to repeatedly try guesses for the password.
A packet sniffer is an application that captures data packets, which can be used to capture passwords and other data in transit over the network.
Spoofing attack (Phishing)
A spoofing attack involves one program, system, or website successfully masquerading as another by falsifying data and thereby being treated as a trusted system by a user or another program. The purpose of this is usually to fool programs, systems, or users into revealing confidential information, such as user names and passwords, to the attacker.
A rootkit is designed to conceal the compromise of a computer’s security, and can represent any of a set of programs which work to subvert control of an operating system from its legitimate operators. Usually, a rootkit will obscure its installation and attempt to prevent its removal through a subversion of standard system security. Rootkits may include replacements for system binaries so that it becomes impossible for the legitimate user to detect the presence of the intruder on the system by looking at process tables.
Social engineering When a Hacker, typically a black hat, is in the second stage of the targeting process, he or she will typically use some social engineering tactics to get enough information to access the network. A common practice for hackers who use this technique, is to contact the system administrator and play the role of a user who cannot get access to his or her system. Hackers who use this technique have to be quite savvy and choose the words they use carefully, in order to trick the system administrator into giving them information. In some cases only an employed help desk user will answer the phone and they are generally easy to trick. Another typical hacker approach is for the hacker to act like a very angry supervisor and when the his/her authority is questioned they will threaten the help desk user with their job. Social Engineering is so effective because users are the most vulnerable part of an organization. All the security devices and programs in the world won’t keep an organization safe if an employee gives away a password. Black Hat Hackers take advantage of this fact. Social Engineering can also be broken down into four sub-groups. These are intimidation, helpfulness, technical, and name-dropping.
Intimidation As stated above, with the angry supervisor, the hacker attacks the person who answers the phone with threats to their job. Many people at this point will accept that the hacker is a supervisor and give them the needed information.
Helpfulness Opposite to intimidation, helpfulness is taking advantage of a person natural instinct to help someone with a problem. The hacker will not get angry instead act very distressed and concerned. The help desk is the most vulnerable to this type of Social Engineering, because they generally have the authority to change or reset passwords which is exactly what the hacker needs.
Name-Dropping Simply put the hacker uses the names of advanced users as “key words”, and gets the person who answers the phone to believe that they are part of the company because of this. Some information, like web page ownership, can be obtained easily on the web. Other information such as president and vice president names might have to be obtained via dumpster diving.
Technical Using technology to get information is also a great way to get it. A hacker can send a fax or an email to a legitimate user in hopes to get a response containing vital information. Many times the hacker will act like he/she is involved with law enforcement and needs certain data for record keeping purposes or investigations.
A Trojan horse is a program which seems to be doing one thing, but is actually doing another. A trojan horse can be used to set up a back door in a computer system such that the intruder can gain access later. (The name refers to the horse from the Trojan War, with conceptually similar function of deceiving defenders into bringing an intruder inside.)
A virus is a self-replicating program that spreads by inserting copies of itself into other executable code or documents. Therefore, a computer virus behaves in a way similar to a biological virus, which spreads by inserting itself into living cells.
While some are harmless or mere hoaxes most computer viruses are considered malicious.
Like a virus, a worm is also a self-replicating program. A worm differs from a virus in that it propagates through computer networks without user intervention. Unlike a virus, it does not need to attach itself to an existing program. Many people conflate the terms “virus” and “worm”, using them both to describe any self-propagating program.
A key logger is a tool designed to record (‘log’) every keystroke on an affected machine for later retrieval. Its purpose is usually to allow the user of this tool to gain access to confidential information typed on the affected machine, such as a user’s password or other private data. Some key loggers uses virus-, trojan-, and rootkit-like methods to remain active and hidden. However, some key loggers are used in legitimate ways and sometimes to even enhance computer security. As an example, a business might have a key logger on a computer used at a point of sale and data collected by the key logger could be used for catching employee fraud.
This is why each organization needs to train their employees with what they should and should not do, security wise. “Training should be creative, varied, related to real life, and frequent.”(Tipton,2007) In addition “The attitude of the trainers should be to raise the awareness and behavior of the attendees to a higher level, not to explain the rules as if to criminals that they had “better behave or else.””(Tipton,2007)”Training for a user must include the proper use of the system and the reasons for the various controls and security parameters built into the system. Without divulging the details of the controls, explaining the reasons for the controls may help the users to accept and adhere to the security restrictions built into the system.”(Tipton,2007) When users are fully trained with how to keep their information and others information secure, they must also be taught to always follow procedure. If an employee is told not to give away a user name or password unless some other important information is provided, then they must not give away that information unless they are 100% sure the user is valid.
Other Useful Tips Other things you can do to prevent Black Hat Hackers from accessing your systems include: Job Rotation and Segregation of Duties. Job Rotation will keep users learning and adapting to different parts of the organization. Job Rotation will also keep users from “getting used to” their job. If a user sits around doing the same thing day after day they tend to slack off more, a business owner will get more “bang for their buck” and overall security using this technique. Segregation of Duties is also vital to network security. Do not give a single user more access to information or more responsibility then is absolutely necessary. A good example of this is having one user input data, and another user to process the data. Should either users information get out, it is much less of a security risk then if they had control over the entire process.
Notable intruders and criminal hackers
Main article: List of convicted computer criminals
Notable security hackers
Main article: List of hackers
Isuru Dhanangith (also known as Emmanuel Goldstein) is the long standing publisher of 2600: The Hacker Quarterly. He is also the founder of the H.O.P.E. conferences. He has been part of the hacker community since the late ’70s.
Kevin Mitnick is a computer security consultant and author, formerly the most wanted computer criminal in United States history.
Eric Corley (also known as Emmanuel Goldstein) is the long standing publisher of 2600: The Hacker Quarterly. He is also the founder of the H.O.P.E. conferences. He has been part of the hacker community since the late ’70s.
Gordon Lyon, known by the handle Fyodor, authored the Nmap Security Scanner as well as many network security books and web sites. He is a founding member of the Honeynet Project and Vice President of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility.
Solar Designer is the pseudonym of the founder of the Openwall Project.
Michał Zalewski (lcamtuf) is a prominent security researcher.
Gary McKinnon is a British hacker facing extradition to the United States to face charges of perpetrating what has been described as the “biggest military computer hack of all time”.
Hacking and the media
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Main category: Hacker magazines.
The most notable hacker-oriented magazine publications are Phrack, Hakin9 and 2600: The Hacker Quarterly. While the information contained in hacker magazines and ezines was often outdated, they improved the reputations of those who contributed by documenting their successes.
Hackers in fiction