A friend of mine sees fit to ask me at least once a week, “Anyone been hacked this week?”
It seems that when he asks, a hack happens.This week was different. There seems to have been a more than usual number of hacks, or at least groups claiming to have breached some law enforcement agencies in the US, including the Central Intelligencer Agency (CIA).
U.S. Census Bureau, Interpol, and Mexico, as well as law enforcement websites in Alabama and Texas, all organizations affiliated with the CIA reportedly have been hacked by Anonymous, the same group claiming responsibility for shutting down the homepages of the Department of Justice and FBI last month in retaliation for the US government closing the controversial Megaupload file sharing websites.
Let’s start with the CIA website. The site was inaccessible several hours after the attack then appeared to be offline for the rest of the weekend. (http://www.informationweek.com/news/security/attacks/232600729).
A message posted last Friday on a Twitter page and on a Tumblr feed affiliated with Anonymous celebrated the blocking of the site. “CIA Tango Down” (https://www.cia.gov// #Annonymous”) .read the posting, using US Special Forces terminology for killing an enemy. (https://twitter.com/#!/YourAnonNews/status/168068014758039552)
The CIA did not deny, or confirm, in typical CIA fashion that the site had been hacked, but did report that they were working on a problem. (http://edition.cnn.com/2012/02/10/us/government-websites-hacked/index.html).
The same Twitter page also provided links to documents, messages and other files that it said it had taken off a website tied to Mexico’s mining ministry.
“Hello Mexican Chamber of Mines,” a related Twitter post read. “Want to see your emails exposed?” That website was also reported as being shutdown last Friday.
Earlier on Friday a hacker or group going by the moniker “Casi” took credit for hacking the Web site of the United Nations and released what appeared to be information on vulnerabilities on the site. The move did not have the hallmarks of an Anonymous operation, including a clearly written message and the Anonymous motto: “We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget.”
The attacks appeared to be a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, something that has become associated with Anonymous. That does not mean they did it. Anonymous sometimes see himself or herself as the “bearer of good news” and simply reports some hacks.
It may just be that some hackers are outright supporters of Anonymous?
CabinCr3w and w0rmer hit the Texas Department of Public Safety, and detailed what they’d stolen, which included contact information for training centers, Excel spreadsheets allegedly stolen in the attack.
The same two hackers last week attacked the Alabama Department of Public Safety, and released seven spreadsheets containing information on sex offenders as well as victims, as well as a database of vehicle information for offenders. (http://www.informationweek.com/news/security/attacks/232600729)
But the real message is, “Government’s be ready and be vigilant, you are susceptible to hackers.” Need further proof?
A secret telephone call between the FBI detectives and their counterparts in London the London made public by Anonymous in January. (http://www.gizbot.com/news/cia-website-hacked-by-annonymous.html)
I’m a government cleared cybersecurity expert (a Certified Ethical Hacker), and the Vice-President of Cyber at SIRCO, an investigations and protections firm in Montréal, Canada.
I’m also a frequent contributor to National & Global media reportage about cyber-crime, spying, security failures, internet scams, and the real social network dangers that families and individuals face every day.