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Print 18 comment(s) - last by ritualm.. on Feb 7 at 6:41 PM

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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Federal Reserve is not Government
By AntiM on 2/6/2013 3:09:28 PM , Rating: 4
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.




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...


Ok
By Ammohunt on 2/6/2013 4:29:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
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.


So China employs criminals and we put them in jail. As a nation of laws i am not seeing the issue here. If these blackhats had any concern for western civilization they would put on a white hat and contribute to society in a positive way.




RE: Ok
By MechanicalTechie on 2/6/2013 6:03:11 PM , Rating: 2
Yeeeah right... a nation of Laws?

I guess thats why so many went to jail after the GFC...

Prehaps if the US gov applied the same conditions to liberty and justise to all then they wouldnt have so many problems with domestic blackhats.


RE: Ok
By ritualm on 2/7/2013 12:06:32 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
So China employs criminals and we put them in jail. As a nation of laws i am not seeing the issue here. If these blackhats had any concern for western civilization they would put on a white hat and contribute to society in a positive way.

The flipside being:

China has the best minds working for them, while USA treats them as worse than marijuana smugglers.

Computer/IT security expertise needs to be treasured and sought after, not viewed in black-and-white just because the guys with that experience turn out to be criminals. A nation of laws is at best a subject of hilarious derision, at worst its Achilles' Heel.

By the way, note how all the 'criminals' in the upper echelons of power create all the laws that we must abide to, while they flaunt the same rules and regs at will. Doesn't look like "a nation of laws" anymore, does it.


RE: Ok
By aë$-he+é on 2/7/2013 10:50:25 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, they really wear those rules and regs like bling on the weekends. Scandalous. It's not like they'd ever FLOUT them.


RE: Ok
By Ammohunt on 2/7/2013 12:05:23 PM , Rating: 2
This is not the movies! black hats with any skill are in it for personal gain, creating chaos and perhaps the thrill of being bad. Asking them to fight for a concept foreign to them such as the greater good as defined by someone else is laughable at best.


RE: Ok
By ritualm on 2/7/2013 6:41:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
This is not the movies! black hats with any skill are in it for personal gain, creating chaos and perhaps the thrill of being bad. Asking them to fight for a concept foreign to them such as the greater good as defined by someone else is laughable at best.

Epic fail.

So your solution is to send the brightest and smartest black hatters into the American prison complex and/or export them to China? Your "holier-than-thou" and "law and order" mantras do not work when it comes to IT security.

The US government should offer folks like Aaron Swartz an alternative better than jail time - work for the government for life, in exchange they get total legal immunity for all past, present and future (mis)deeds. Hell, putting them to work for the CIA is a better deal than the "guilty plea bargains" Swartz was offered prior to his suicide!


On the bright side
By geddarkstorm on 2/6/2013 3:28:09 PM , Rating: 2
While Anonymous may be angry, they aren't out for actual destruction; so the hacks Anon does promotes better security and cyber awareness of US digital holdings, making them less likely to fall to the actually destructive PLA hackers.

On an even brighter side, seems like there'll be plenty of job openings for computer science graduates in the government in the near future.




RE: On the bright side
By ebakke on 2/6/2013 4:47:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
On an even brighter side, seems like there'll be plenty of job openings for computer science graduates in the government in the near future.
If by "on an even brighter side" you mean "unfortunately", well then yes. I completely agree.


By Nekrik on 2/6/2013 3:30:15 PM , Rating: 2
if it is known or can be found, it would be nice if these 'breached' articles would offer a little insight as to what OS is deployed on the comprimised systems




By Wulf145 on 2/7/2013 4:43:40 AM , Rating: 2
If the OS itself was not breached, but Software running on it, it is of little use to know which OS it is.
What would be of interest is which Software was breached irrespective of whether it was the OS or 3. Party Software.


By toyotabedzrock on 2/6/2013 9:38:39 PM , Rating: 2
The government is wrong and policy needs to change. We are in an impatient world where time is money and while fast policy is never ideal the debate must at least start with the perceived problem.




Hasn't occurred to anyone
By Dumamer1can on 2/7/2013 1:11:18 AM , Rating: 2
that this isn't a "Two-prong" attack.... its just the same group using different servers...

my other post:

Hey Dailytech

for being a "tech" site your writer here seems pretty gullible in believing that what is reported on mainstream media is true... who can prove the Chinese government is behind the hacks... just because the servers are from China you don't think keyboard puncher can be from Anonymous or Mid east country or the thousands of other groups of people that hate your ridiculous government.

Use some more thought and objective logic.

A dumb american.




we just don't like you
By mike66 on 2/7/2013 5:06:15 AM , Rating: 2
The US will never have a big enough talent pool when compared to the Chinese, one third of the worlds population does not like you but is willing to take your money and steal whatever it can, the rest of the world really does not care as we don't like you either for your criminal invasion and interference of other countries, as we gain control of your technology you will loose. I'm a white hat who lives in one of your allied counties and applaud the actions of the chinese, anon and Aaron, why? Because I just don't like government liars, you can't even get the support of the common people in your own country. I did a quick pole of my friends and family and they don't like you either. Take a leaf out of the Chinese law system 'guilty until you prove your innocense' Gee you can't, now you may start to relise that it's not just one third of the world but nearly all of it. Bradley Manning and wikileaks are my hero's, get it!




"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997














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