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China sends its brightest hackers against the U.S., while the U.S.'s own talent turns against it, as well

Just days after the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sent a letter to employees telling them its servers had been hacked and some personal information was stolen, the U.S. Federal Reserve made a similar announcement.

I. Federal Reserve Gets Pwned by Anonymous

Like the DOE, the central bank of the U.S. said the intrusion was minimal and didn't affect its functions.  But reports indicate the attackers -- Anonymous, a global collective of anti-establishment hackers -- scooped 4,000 records detailing personal information of top bank executives.

A spokesperson for the federal bank told Reuters, "Exposure was fixed shortly after discovery and is no longer an issue. This incident did not affect critical operations of the Federal Reserve system."

News of the hack broke Sunday night when Anonymous leaked 4,000+ bankers' login information, credentials, internet protocol addresses, and contact information.  The data was dumped to page on the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center entitled "whoops we did it again".  The page has predictably since been removed.

The leak was announced by the Twitter account OpLastResort, an account associated with Anonymous’ anti-government campaign that's seeking vengeance for internet activist Aaron Swartz's death:
Fed Reserve hack
 
The published information included mailing address, business phone, mobile phone, business email, and fax numbers.

II. PLA Hackers Bombard WSJ With More Attacks 

Meanwhile, a second report indicates that hackers from Chinese IPs are still battering The Wall Street Journal in apparent effort to silence stories about corruption in the Chinese government.  The Chinese have appeared to openly and brazenly attacked The New York Times and Bloomberg in the last year in retaliation for stories about corruption in the highest levels of the Chinese government.

China, who admits to having a large "cyber army", claims it only uses the highly skilled unit for "self defense".  It denied allegations made in the recent NYT report on attacks on U.S. media, which claimed that the attack bore the telltale signs of other cyberattacks connected to the People's Liberation Army.

Rupert Murdoch, media mogul owner of News Corp. (NWS) and WSJ took to Twitter on Tuesday to announce that the attacks were continuing.  He wrote:
Ruper Murdoch tweet

It is unclear what kinds of attacks were conducted or whether any intrusions were successful.

III. America Faces a Two-Headed Threat

The attacks announced this week illustrate the two-headed beast facing government cyberdefense forces in the U.S.  On the one side you have domestic hacker groups like Anonymous, which appear to be scooping up poorly secured government records with ease and defacing government websites.  

Domestic hackers are problematic as there's no solid option for "counterattack" other than prosecution, and the government appears ill equipped to defend itself.  To make matters worse, many of the campaigns play to public frustrations about government corruption, and as a result efforts to bring domestic hackers to justice are often met with derision.

Anonymous
The U.S. continues to struggle to court its black hats. [Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech]

On the other side of the aisle is the powerful, sophisticated PLA hacking machine, which has steadily and ruthlessly attacked the U.S. in recent years.  As with the domestic threats, the U.S. government appears to be doing a poor job, at best, defending itself.  And its official counterattack group -- U.S. Cyber Command -- is too small to be effective, with a skeleton crew of 500 experts.

In many ways the problems overlap.  While China recruits its best and brightest black hats to attack the U.S., the U.S. is fighting to imprison many of its own best and brightest black hats.  Meanwhile other U.S. black hats actively work to attack the government.  The result is a cyberwarfare scenario that is highly conducive to Chinese success -- and highly dangerous for the U.S. federal government.

The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), one of the organizations tasked with federal cyber defense, has reached out to black hat hackers at recent hacking conventions.  However, OpLastResort and recent prosecution efforts against Andrew Auernheimer, et al. illustrate the deep ongoing divides between the U.S. and its star hackers.

Sources: Twitter [OpLastResort], Twitter [Rupert Murdoch]



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RE: Federal Reserve is not Government
By vol7ron on 2/6/2013 10:30:13 PM , Rating: 2
I still can't believe Swartz is dead. Loved his activism against SOPA/PIPA, he had a strong voice and it's a shame he won't be here to continue the fight.

_________________________

quote:
Why should the US Government be responsible for protecting the Federal Reserve? It is a private entity. I'm pretty sure their main purpose is to ruin the US economy, of which it has done a wonderful job.


Not sure if you were being serious, but the Federal Reserve is quasi-government. It's one government-run district oversees 12 privately owned banks, where the ownership is distributed. One of the best, concise answers to common misconceptions can be found: answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080127205031 AA29wab

I studied a lot about the Fed when I was in school and I don't think people understand what kind of limitations they have, as well has how successful they have been at preventing a horrific disaster that the Clinton administration mostly created; which wouldn't have been bad if it wasn't amplified with devastations from Katrina and the 9/11 response wars.

What is really wrong is how the government budgets money. For instance, when it grants military spending, they are allotted a certain amount per project. Prices change over time and it takes a lot of money to change and coordinate new budgets, which usually are contractual. The whole contract-bidding culture and over-charged pricing of some consultants is extraordinary. Something we should focus our interests on.


By BifurcatedBoat on 2/6/2013 11:25:24 PM , Rating: 3
A lot of people don't understand the damage that the Clinton administration did to the economy on multiple fronts.

Everything seemed to be going great for the time being, so they associate the prosperity they felt at the time with that administration rather than what has happened since.

The housing bubble was created because of the Clinton administration, and like any bubble, it seemed like a very prosperous time when it was at its peak.

Meanwhile, those inflated home prices created by federally-mandated lax lending standards proved to have nothing solid backing them up - leading to the housing crash - and trade agreements signed during that period unfavorable to US interests created long-term economic problems.


RE: Federal Reserve is not Government
By FITCamaro on 2/7/2013 8:44:07 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
as well has how successful they have been at preventing a horrific disaster


By causing an eventual financial collapse as a result of printing trillions? Yeah....successful...

The Federal Reserve is buying our debt now because other countries can't fast enough. Yeah that's not a recipe for disaster...


By NellyFromMA on 2/7/2013 12:51:19 PM , Rating: 2
I think the point is that had this not been done and no alternative action taken place (the unnattractive decision was made presumably because other options were less attractive than that even) we would have been in a much worse situation faster than had the current course been taken.

My opinion is that regardless of this, the truth is our money has lost substantialvalue and this has been happening for a long time.

We aren't likely going to "recover" the way we are led to beleive but rather are transitioning into a new normal. This is already evident in our tax increases and the cost of everything going back up while household income remains flat. Essentially, we are now entering what I beleive to be a calculated period of inflation.

One could argue the stock market has been being kept artifically low for sometime because if it goes high, so too will all our food and gas. It has been to the advantage of the American people who are not in a retiring generation to have this happen as gas prices were eased as a result of the crash and the markets current holding pattern and food saw a break as well barring natural disaster related rises.

Of course, we can not afford the stock market to go too low or we will sacrifice more speculative value than we already have, which is too much as it stands.

The real question in my mind is just HOW can we recover? Inevitably based on the structure of our money's valuation it will require a new bubble or series of bubbles. See Green Energy and Cloud Everything for examples.

As far as I'm concerned, we may as well get comfortable because unless a new bubble emerges, we are in it for the long term which is fine because I'm doing alright, but with a rising China and a flat US looking for a new quick buck, who knows what can happen...


"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis














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