In March, Wikileaks published the Vault 7 leaks, a cache of CIA cyberweapons created under the doctrine of "NOBUS" ("No One But Us"), in which security agencies suppress the publication of bugs in widely used software, choosing instead to develop attack-tools that exploit these bugs, on the assumption that no one else will ever discover those bugs and use them to attack the people they're charged with defending.
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As the Spanish government was hacking the Catalonian independence movement, shutting down the .cat top-level domain, and engaging mass-blocking of websites and apps to control information about yesterday's referendum on Catalonian independence, the Xnet collective published a basic (but wide-ranging) guide to "preserving fundamental rights on the Internet," suitable for anyone living under the kind of state suppression that Spain underwent. Read the rest
According to Kaspersky, the Petya ransomware that raced around the world this week wasn't ransomware at all, and there is no way to get back your files after it does its work (that's why it was so easy to shut down the email address the ransomware used to negotiate payments and decryption with victims whose computers had been taken over). Read the rest
Ever since the Ukrainian "Maidan" revolution, the country has been subjected to waves of punishing cyberwar attacks, targeting its power grids, finance ministry, TV networks, election officials, and other critical systems. Read the rest
A rare joint alert from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation explicitly blames the government of North Korea for a series of hacking attacks on various American targets, dating as far back as 2009. The government alert warns that more such ”state-sponsored cyberattacks,” as they're known in security jargon, are likely to come. Read the rest
Huge New York Times investigation on Russia's role in the elections, and Trump's upset victory: "The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the US.” It's a riveting tic-tock narrative, and no doubt those in the intel/security biz will debate the contents.
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An examination by The Times of the Russian operation — based on interviews with dozens of players targeted in the attack, intelligence officials who investigated it and Obama administration officials who deliberated over the best response — reveals a series of missed signals, slow responses and a continuing underestimation of the seriousness of the cyberattack.
The D.N.C.’s fumbling encounter with the F.B.I. meant the best chance to halt the Russian intrusion was lost. The failure to grasp the scope of the attacks undercut efforts to minimize their impact. And the White House’s reluctance to respond forcefully meant the Russians have not paid a heavy price for their actions, a decision that could prove critical in deterring future cyberattacks.
The low-key approach of the F.B.I. meant that Russian hackers could roam freely through the committee’s network for nearly seven months before top D.N.C. officials were alerted to the attack and hired cyberexperts to protect their systems. In the meantime, the hackers moved on to targets outside the D.N.C., including Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John D. Podesta, whose private email account was hacked months later.
Even Mr. Podesta, a savvy Washington insider who had written a 2014 report on cyberprivacy for President Obama, did not truly understand the gravity of the hacking.
A reader writes, "According to last week's Shadow Brokers leak, the NSA compromised a DNS server of the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in September 2000, two years after the Iraq Liberation Act and Operation Desert Fox, but before the Bush election." Read the rest
In August, anonymous hacker(s) dumped a cache of cyberweapons that appeared to originate with The Equation Group, an elite, NSA-affiliated hacking squad. Read the rest
The world's most sophisticated security experts have been bombarded with recruiting offers from UAE-based company Darkmatter, which bills itself as a major state security contractor -- but people who've taken the bait say they were then told that they were being hired to weaponize huge arsenals of zero-day vulnerabilities so that the UAE can subject its own population to fine-grained, continuous surveillance. Read the rest
In 2014, an Indian company called Aglaya brought a 20-page brochure to ISS World (AKA the Wiretappers' Ball -- the annual trade fair where governments shop for surveillance technology): the brochure laid out the company's offerings, which ranged from mobile malware for Ios and Android to a unique "Weaponized Information" selection that combined denial-of-service with disinformation to "discredit a target" online. Read the rest
Bernard Barbier presided over DGSE, France's answer to NSA, during the agency's period of fast growth, spending €500M and adding 800 new staffers; in a recent speech to a French engineering university Ecole Centrale Paris, Barbier spilled a ton of secrets, apparently without authorisation. Read the rest
Someone -- possibly the government of China -- has launched a series of probing attacks on the internet's most critical infrastructure, using carefully titrated doses of denial-of-service to precisely calibrate a tool for shutting down the whole net. Read the rest
As our Cory Doctorow reported previously, a previously unheard of hacker group calling themselves The Shadow Brokers announced this week it had stolen a trove of ready-to-use cyber weapons from The Equation Group (previously), an advanced cyberweapons dealer believed to be operating on behalf of, or within, the NSA.
The Shadow Brokers are auctioning the weaponized malware off to the highest bidder. Read the rest
In this Chinese government comic book, women are warned that mysterious foreign strangers who pitch woo at them are secretly Western spies trying to get at their government secrets. Read the rest
There's been an awful lot of talk about “cyber pathogens” and “cyber bombs” lately from the mouths of American officials discussing terrorism, and how we will vanquish it. President Obama mentioned “cyber ops” against Islamic State terrorists in one recent address. Today, we know a little more about what was behind last week's cyber-hawkish hacking headlines. Read the rest
America's military forces are dropping "cyber bombs" on Islamic State terrorist groups for the first time, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told reporters accompanying him on a military flight on Tuesday.
The ISIS internet attacks, whatever the particulars really may be, are part of a stepped-up coordinated effort to put increasing pressure on the militant organization.
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Back in July, a hacker dumped the emails and other files from Hacking Team, Italy's notorious cyber-arms dealer. Coincidentally, Vice had recently filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FBI, asking if they were buying cyberweapons from Hacking Team. Read the rest