What is a Cyber Weapon? At first glance this seems an immediate question to answer, but should anyone try to…
The more I look inside the Middle East Cyber War between Israel and the Arab Hackers, the more I realize that it follows exactly the same shape than the real conflict.
In particular this last week has seen a strong reduction of the cyber events between the involved parties, although it is not clear if this was due to stronger cyber defenses enforced, or it was rather a kind of “calm before the storm”.
Among the reported events I considered particularly meaningful the attack of InLightPress, a Palestinian news website, of whom I did not find any other report except the one quoted in the Infographic which comes from a Pro-Israeli Website (this is the reason why this event must be considered with the necessary caution). Maybe it is not directly related to the Middle East Cyber War, anyway it looks like this attack was not originated by Israeli hackers, but had rather been “commissioned” by the Palestinian Authority. In the real world political parties or movement have different wings (typically hawks and doves), it looks like this is true for the cyber world as well. On the other hand, some believe that also the attack carried on last week against the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, considered close to Pro-Palestinian movements, has an internal origin, that maybe explains the subsequent excuses by the alleged authors of the attack (BTW at the above link there is an interesting list of the hack published in pastebin by the Israeli Hackers).
Do you believe the descending trend of the cyber events will be confirmed in the next period, or it is rather a temporary cyber truce before the digital storm?
Click here for the Middle East Cyber War Master Index with the Complete Timeline.
This week of Cyber War on the Middle East front, has shown a slight change on the Cyber Conflict trend. For the first time since January, psyops have deserved a primary role, maybe on the wake of the video released by the Anonymous against Israel one week ago. Not only the Jerusalem Post calls the video into question, but also argues that it may have been forged by Iran, identifying a state sponsored impersonation behind the entry of Anonymous in this cyber war.
But this has not been the only psyops event as an alleged message from Mossad to the Anonymous has appeared on pastebin, whose beginning sounds like a dark warning: If you want to be a hero start with saving your own lives. Although there are many doubts on its truthfulness, it deserves a particular attention since outlines a new age on psyops, what I call “pastebin psyops”.
But a war is not made only of psyops, so this week has also seen more hostile actions, among which the most remarkable one has been the leak of 300,000 accounts from Israeli Ministry of Construction and Housing. This action had been preannounced by a wave of attacks on primary Israeli sites (which targeted also the PM site), and most of all, has been carried on by 0xOmar, the absolute initiator of this cyber conflict.
Palestine has been targeted as well, and it is really interesting to read under this perspective a statement by Ammar al-Ikir, the head of Paltel, the Palestinian telecommunications provider according to whom cyber attacks on Palestinian websites and internet servers have escalated since Palestine joined UNESCO.
On the Iranian front chronicle report of a failed cyber attacks againstPress TV, Iran’s English-language 24-hour news channel and most of all of a controversial statement by Gholam Reza Jalali, a senior Iranian military official in charge of head of the Iranian Cyber Intelligence, according to whom the country’s nuclear facilities have finally been made immune to cyber attacks. And it is not a coincidence that in this week Iran has kicked off the first national conference on Cyber Defense. A matter that deserves a special attention by Tehran because of the growing number of attacks on Iran’s cyber space by US and Israel. On the other hand, Israel did a similar move one month ago, at very early stage of the cyber conflict.
Cross Posted from TheAviationist.
2011 has been an annus horribilis for information security, and aviation has not been an exception to this rule: not only in 2011 the corporate networks of several aviation and aerospace industries have been targeted by digital storms (not a surprise in the so-called hackmageddon) but, above all, last year will be probably remembered for the unwelcome record of two alleged hacking events targeting drones (“alleged” because in the RQ-170 Sentinel downed in Iran episode, several doubts surround the theory according to which GPS hacking could have been the real cause of the crash landing).
But, if Information Security professionals are quite familiar with the idea that military contractors could be primary and preferred targets of the current Cyberwar, as the infographic on the left shows, realizing that malware can be used to target a drone is still considered an isolated episode, and even worse, the idea of a malware targeting, for instance, the multirole Joint Strike Fighter is still something hard to accept.
However, things are about change dramatically. And quickly.
The reason is simple: the latest military and civil airplanes are literally full of electronics, which play a primary role in managing avionics, onboard systems, flight surfaces, communcation equipment and armament.
For instance an F-22 Raptor owns about 1.7 millions od line of codes , an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter about 5.7 millions and a Boeing 787 Dreamliner about 6.5 millions. Everything with some built in code may be exploited, therefore, with plenty of code and much current and future vulnerabilities, one may not rule out a priori that these systems will be targeted with specific tailored or generic malware for Cyberwar, Cybercrime, or even hacktivism purposes.
Unfortunately it looks like the latter hypothesis is closer to reality since too often these systems are managed by standard Windows operating systems, and as a matter of fact a generic malware has proven to be capable to infect the most important U.S. robots flying in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, and Indian Ocean: Predator and Reaper Drones.
As a consequence, it should not be surprising, nor it is a coincidence, that McAfee, Sophos and Trend Micro, three leading players for Endpoint Security, consider the embedded systems as one of the main security concerns for 2012.
Making networks more secure (and personnel more educated) to prevent the leak of mission critical documents and costly project plans (as happened in at least a couple of circumstances) will not be aviation and aerospace industry’s information security challenge; the real challenge will be to embrace the security-by-design paradigm and make secure and malware-proof products ab initio.
While you wait to see if an endpoint security solution becomes available for an F-35, scroll down the image below and enjoy the list of aviation and aerospace related cyber attacks occurred since the very first hack targeting the F-35 Lightning II in 2009.
Of course aviation and aerospace industries are not the only targets for hackers and cybercriminals. So, if you want to have an idea of how fragile our data are inside the cyberspace, have a look at the timelines of the main Cyber Attacks in 2011 and 2012 (regularly updated) at hackmageddon.com. And follow @pausparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.
As usual the references are after the jump…
This last week has seen some remarkable events an undoubtable revamp of data leaks inside the Middle East Cyberwar.
Not only the infamous 0xOmar, the initiator of the Middle East Cyber War, reappeared, leaking alleged secret data from some Israeli Virtual Israeli Air Force School websites; but also the Pakistani zCompany Hacking Crew has re-entered the scene unchaining the original weapon, that is the Credit Card leak. As a matter of fact ZHC published 5,166 records containing working credit cards, usernames, emails and addresses of individual supporters of the Zionist Organisation of UK & Ireland (zionist.org.uk).
On a different front, the massive defacements of websites all over the world in support of #OpFreePalestine continued. Under the label of the same operation, the Anonymous also “doxed” several companies and individuals on pastebin.
As far as the two main contenders (Iran and Israel) are concerned, the strategies seem quite different.
Iran has shown a cyber activity culminated in the alleged attack against the BBC Persian Service. For this nation, it is also important to notice its “cyber autarky”, maybe a choice forced by the embargo, that led to the creation of an internal email service, in contrast to the traditional Gmail, Yahoo, etc. This happens few weeks after the decision to develop an internal Antivirus.
On the opposite front, Israel keeps on its apparent cyber silence. Is it the prelude for the feared military action against Iran?
Several days ago I tweeted a request of help to my tweeps for building a timeline of India and Bangladesh Cyber War Timeline.
Unexpectedly the day after I received a complete and detailed timeline from Catherine Anita. I was nearly risking to loose it since my Gmail account had marked the message as spam. As I do not completely trust the antispam engines and regularly check my Spam folder, fortunately I was able to retrieve her e-mail and the precious content.
Catherine did a complete review that I formatted according to my consolidated model, adding a couple of events for the last days.
Since the timeline of the mutual Cyber Attacks is quite long, I decided to divide it into two parts, the first one covering the cyber attacks carried on by pro-Bangladesh hacking crews against India (I used a rigorous alphabetical Order). Expect for tomorrow the update with attacks carried on from the other side.
As usual after the Jump you find all the references.
If you want to have an idea of how fragile our data are inside the cyberspace, have a look at the timelines of the main Cyber Attacks in 2011 and 2012 (regularly updated), and follow @pausparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.
Another week of Cyber War in the Middle East…
Another week in which pro Israeli hackers seem to have disappeared, and hence have apparently left the scene to Pro Palestine hackers, although not so many high-profile actions have been reported in this period. The only exception to this schema is represented by Mauritania Hacker Team who dumped 4000 login accounts from Microsoft Israel Dynamics CRM Online website. This action is particularly significant… Not because it targeted a Cloud service, and not even because it targeted a Microsoft Cloud Service, but most of all because on the wake of the multiple dumps performed by Pro Arab hackers against Israel (among which the dump to the Microsoft Cloud Service was only the latest), the Israel’s Justice Ministry has releases guidelines forbidding unnecessary collection of personal national identification numbers. This is the first time in which the aftermath of a Cyber War has direct implications on everyday life.
From this point of view the wars fought on the cyber domain are completely different from the wars fought on the real world… In the cyber battlefield the civilians are the primary targets (since they have their personal data dumped) and not collateral victims…
The second part of this post covers the cyber attacks carried on by Indian hackers against Bangladesh. Apparently their number is smaller but a deeper analysis shows a sharper strategy focused on paralyzing the financial system of Bangladesh.
In this first quarter of 2012, the cyber war between the two countries went through two different phases: until the beginning of March, the two opposite factions faced themselves with sparse defacement and DDoS actions (unchained after the attacks following the India Republic Day). After March we entered the Cyber War 2.0 characterized by High Profile actions, most of all suffered by Bangladesh, that led to the takedown of the Stock Exchange and one important Bank.
Again, thanks to Catherine for collecting the data.
Of course do not forget to follow @paulsparrows for the latest updates on the (too many) Cyber Wars, being fought on the underground of our planet.
As usual, here it is the second part of the Cyber Attacks Timeline for the month of May 2012: a month particularly rich of Cyber Events. As you will probably know, the Flame malware has monopolized the attention, deserving the most attention from the Information Security Professional.
Nevertheless the scene has offered many interesting events, among which it worths to mention the breach of 123,000 federal employees records, the breach affecting University of Nebraska, and, last but not least, the breach against WHCMS (which, as we will soon see, has proved to be fatal for its author).
The hacktivist front is still hot and preannounces another hot summer. On the other hand the authors of several remarkable cyber-criminal actions are probably going to leave the scene: the long trail of arrests made by Law Enforcement Agencies against hackers has continued in this month and has hence led to the arrest of Cosmo, the leader of the infamous group UGNazi, which claimed to be the author of the Cyber Attack against WHCMS.
In your opinion are the arrests against hackers really going to stop the growing number of Cyber Attacks (acting as a deterrent)?
If you want to have an idea of how fragile our data are inside the cyberspace, have a look at the timelines of the main Cyber Attacks in 2011 and 2012 (regularly updated), and follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.
After the jump you find all the references, and at this link the first part covering 1-15 May.
Yet another Sunday, yet another attack in Middle East. Maher Center, the Iranian Computer Emergency Response Team / Coordination Center…