Wikileaks hacked by "very skilled hackers" ahead of Iraq War Logs release

Forbes reports that Wikileaks suffered its first major security breach in history on Wednesday, just days before today's release of the Iraq War Logs.


  1. Sorry, but that doesn’t sound technically correct AT ALL. If you chat using OTR/GPG, and I’m pretty sure the WL guys do just that, your Private Keys are NOT stored on the server. That’s why it’s called a “Private” Key. You encrypt end-to-end, the server can’t even read your messages. So worst case, they might have compromised SSL. Which is kinda annoying for the server admin, but by no means a “security breach” since you can’t do… insert four-letter-word-here… with encrypted messages, as everyone who has ever chatted using OTR then used Wireshark on the packets will tell you. So, bad for WL to lose their Jabber server (if they even did), but either no security breach or bad reporting from Forbes, or a fake insider wanting publicity, or even government FUD. Who knows. But take it from a CS student and IT Sec nut that this report has a few serious flaws.

  2. Likely. But my argument still stands: They (whoever “they” are) couldn’t read the messages, it doesn’t count as a “security breach”.

    1. Don’t be too sure the messages couldn’t be read. Encryption may protect them on the wire, but they have to be decrypted for presentation to a human… and if the machine doing the decryption was compromised, plaintext might have been exposed.

      Personally, I think there’s a certain poetic justice if Wikileaks develops a leak. I remain very undecided about whether they’re going more good than harm or vice versa.

      1. What harm have they done thus far?

        Really what good have they done either? We as U.S. citizens have demonstrated that while we dislike knowing our citizen-soldiers, under the tacit consent and even encouragement of our government, are fucking monsters; we also don’t really give too much of a shit so long as we don’t suffer personally.

        1. This is coming from a career soldier with a lot of experience abroad and interacting with soldiers from around the world. All soldiers are “monsters”, any soldier that isn’t a “monster” isn’t properly trained. There are soldiers in some countries that aren’t “monsters” but they will be unable to do their job if/when they need to. It’s a sad fact of the world. Make the world a place where nations don’t need trained “monsters” and most of us will gladly stand down, walk away and try to forget.

          1. Don’t pretend to not be a major part of the problem, the men who check their conscience at the door and commit government-sanctioned murder are no less guilty then those who pay their salaries.

            If we ever evolve enough to no longer need the “monsters”, which I would argue we have NO need for currently, and you “gladly stand down” do not expect to be welcomed with open arms into our peaceful society.

          2. My point was that a soldier is a soldier; regardless of the uniform. I know it’s trendy to pile on to U.S. soldiers and to a lesser extent our British counterparts but a soldier is a soldier. I don’t claim to not be a part of the problem but I wonder what people think is going to happen when you train a man to kill other men. You can’t just turn it on and off and most of us don’t fit in to your (imaginary) “peaceful society” and frankly don’t want to. I’m not talking about guys that have done a tour or maybe two and haven’t seen a whole lot of action. I’m talking about guys that can’t do anything else. You create and train monsters to do what _you_ can’t/won’t do and then cast us aside when we do the monstrous things you sent us to do. Lest it be unclear, I don’t mean you personally, I mean “you” as a society.

            Just so I don’t have to make another message because frankly I’m already tired of talking about this; I can’t comment on WWII because it was before my time but if I had to I’d bet my pension that we see things through the forgiving lens of distant memory and glorification of the era through books and film. No disrespect meant to those guys but war is hell and I’ve seen demons in every one I’ve been involved in – I doubt WWII was any different.

            “Please allow me to introduce myself…”

          3. Licentiousness, and the lack of discipline amongst the soldiery, has lost uncounted numbers of battles and wars – sometimes even after the battle or war has actually ended!

            The problem with soldiers is and has always been soldiers themselves.

            But the blame for that lies upon their commanders, both their Officers and, in turn, their civilian political masters: especially in the case of the USA.

            Soldiers screwing up? Look at their leadership to get a feel for where the blame ought to be laid.
            And of even greater importance, to determine what changes are necessary to get the soldiery back to doing what they ought to be doing, instead of harmfully dorking around.

          4. And as far as WW 2 is concerned, in the fifties and sixties, there were many drunks and “bums” to be found in our urban areas who were actually Veterans, who had been ruined as men by that war.

            War costs people, actual people : both for “winners” and for “losers”.

            War sucks.

          5. I’d say soldiers are like any group, most are reasonable people, some are especially decent and some are especially scummy. That said the fact that the military goes out of its way to enlist guys around 18-20 when they are still a bit shaky on the whole question unreasonable orders and self-control makes the military vulnerable to this kind of immorality. I’ve read analysis of soldiers during WWII and the older draftees were much more likely to just do their job and stop there, it is the young volunteer hotheads who seem to be the worst.

      2. The very idea of democracy is founded on openness and the freedom for the people to choose for themselves, while tyranny and evil thrives on secrecy. How can the people reject what they don’t know?

        Here we have the idea of the war founded first on the lies of WMD, then on the idea of “regime change” to remove Saddam Hussein’s supposed regime of rape and torture while implementing our own, worse regime (100,000+ dead civilians has got to count as worse, even without anything else happening).

        So if you are really unsure about this whole idea of “democracy” and “freedom”, then it would be easy to doubt whether Wikileaks is good or bad.

        And that’s how many Americans are unsure about whether Wikileaks is good — their own inner Saddam doesn’t think that rape and torture and murder needs to be exposed.

  3. True. But I can’t come up with an equally realistic scenario involving Private Keys being stored on the server. Just can’t.

  4. Looks like they got some of what they are doing shoved back in their faces. Yeah, the one entity you don’t wanna piss off IS the US Government. Weenies will get cooked from time to time.

    1. To quote the moderator, “in your scenario”.

      That said, anybody just read the NYT’s article where it states Assange had three laptops that he “checked” on a flight out of Stockholm. Did that sound weird to anybody. I mean, if he is that paranoid (dyeing his hair, switching out disposable phones daily, etc) why in the world would he check his laptops? I wouldn’t do that with my laptop and the only thing I have on there I don’t want to see is….well, nevermind.

  5. It’s only going to make Wikileaks more determined.

    If it really was the NSA hacking Wikileaks, it looks like they still haven’t figured out the concept of “blowback”.

  6. It is a fact that you train people to kill, they will do so. WWII also had something that the current situation in Afghanistan doesn’t have- a lack of down- time. I expect the soldiers recently found to be murdering citizens wouldn’t have had the opportunity in past wars, and certainly not in the manner they did it. As for torture- that i think is something that can be blamed on commanders both military and political. Very easy to get out of hand when the boss turns a blind eye or even encourages bad behaviour.

  7. It seems strange to me that the only report of a Wikileaks hack that I can find is the Forbes article. Everything else is just a report of the Forbes article. Did this hack actually happen or is it a case “attempted hacking”?

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