One Year Of Lulz (Part II)

Christmas has just gone and here it is my personal way to wish you a Happy New Year: the second part of my personal chart (first part here) of Main 2011 Cyber Attacks covering the time window from August to November 2011 (December is not yet finished, and featuring remarkable events, so expect an update very soon). This memorable year is nearly over and is time, if you feel nostalgic, to scroll down the second part of the list to review the main Cyber Events that contributed, in my opinion, to change the landscape and the rules of the (information security) game. Many events in this period among whom, IMHO, the most noticeable is the one carried on against Diginotar. Since then our trust in conventional authentication models is not (and will not be) the same anymore.

Of course this is my personal selection. Suggestions are well accepted and if you need more details about the cyber events in 2011, feel free to consult my 2011 Cyber Attacks Master Index. As usual after the page break you find all the references…

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December 2011 Cyber Attacks Timeline (Part II)

This infamous 2011 is nearly gone and here it is the last post for this year concerning the 2011 Cyber Attacks Timeline. As you will soon see from an infosec perspective this month has been characterized by two main events: the LulzXmas with its terrible Stratfor hack (whose effects are still ongoing with the recent release of 860,000 accounts), and an unprecented wave of breaches in China which led to the dump of nearly 88 million of users for a theoretical cost of nearly $19 million (yes the Sony brech is close). For the rest an endless cyberwar between India and Pakistan, some hactivism and (unfortunately) the usual amounts of “minor” breaches and defacement. After the page break you find all the references.

Last but not least… This post is my very personal way to wish you a happy new infosec year.

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January 2012 Cyber Attacks Timeline (Part 1)

Click here for part 2.

New year, new Cyber Attacks Timeline. Let us start our Information Security Travel in 2012 with the chart of the attacks occurred in the first fifteen days of January. This month has been characterized so far by the leak of Symantec Source Code and the strange story of alleged Cyber Espionage revolving around it. But this was not the only remarkable event: chronicles tell the endless Cyber-war between Israel and a Saudi Hacker (and more in general the Arab World), but also a revamped activity of the Anonymous against SOPA (with peak in Finland). The end of the month has also reserved several remarkable events (such as the breaches to T-Mobile and Zappos, the latter affecting potentially 24,000,000 of users). In general this has been a very active period. For 2012 this is only the beginning, and if a good beginning makes a good ending, there is little to be quiet…

Browse the chart and follows @paulsparrows to be updated on a biweekly basis. As usual after the jump you will find all the references. Feel free to report wrong/missing links or attacks.

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Middle East Cyber War Timeline

Feb 19 2012: Middle East Cyber War Timeline Master Index

I tried to summarize the chain of events that is characterizing the Cyber Escalation in the Middle East. I collected the information from several sources in order to provide a detailed picture of what is happening between Israel and the Arab Countries since the initial claim of 0xOmar. Observing the evolution of the chart, the Cyber conflicts seems to follow the same rules than real wars: innocent victims, propaganda and psyops, different paths of escalation and guerrilla tactics. This Cyber Conflict in Middle East is probably crossing the line: from now the landscape will not be the same anymore.

From the initial action of 0xOmar to the Israeli reaction, passing through the declaration of Cyber Jihad (the chart is updated to Sunday, the 22nd of January), (too) many events have happened, involving different hacking crews, different countries (also some French and Canadian web sites have been defaced) and different kind of attacks. What was started as an endless chain of massive leaks seems to be evolving as isolated actions typical of guerrilla.

Follow the line of a Cyber conflict that, similarly to the real one occurring in the Middle East, appears far from being solved…

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Middle East Cyberwar Timeline Part II

The #OpMegaupload and its subsequent Cyber Attacks all over the world, are diverging the attention from what is happening in the Middle East where the Cyber Conflict between Arab and Israeli Hackers is proceeding at an apparently unstoppable pace which forced me to post an update for the events occurred in the last week.

The rapid escalation of personal information leaks which characterized in the first two weeks of January has slightly changed shape, being replaced in the third week by Defacements and DDoS campaigns (targeting also the web sites of two Israeli Hospitals, as to say that a Cyber Geneva Convention is needed). Other dumps has also occurred, but not of the same scale as the first two weeks of January.

Besides the mutual DDoS and defacements to each other web sites, so far a quick calculation shows that since the beginning of this cyber war Arab Hackers have dumped more than 410,000 Credit Cards and 170,000 accounts, while the Israeli Counterparts have published approximately 11,000 Credit Cards, details of 140,000 individuals and 105,000 emails. Even if these data have to be taken with attention since many records have proven to be duplicated or fake, one consideration is clear: even Cyber Wars have their digital casualties.

The worst is yet to come?

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January 2012 Cyber Attacks Timeline (Part 2)

Click here for part 1.

The second half of January is gone, and it is undoubtely clear that this month has been characterized by hacktivism and will be remembered for the Mega Upload shutdown. Its direct and indirect aftermaths led to an unprecedented wave of cyber attacks in terms of LOIC-Based DDoS (with a brand new self service approach we will need to get used to), defacements and more hacking initiatives against several Governments and the EU Parliament, all perpetrated under the common umbrella of the opposition to SOPA, PIPA and ACTA. These attacks overshadowed another important Cyber Event: the Middle East Cyberwar (which for the sake of clarity deserved a dedicated series of posts, here Part I and Part II) and several other major breaches (above all Dreamhost and New York State Electric & Gas and Rochester Gas & Electric).

Chronicles also reports a cyber attack to railways, several cyber attacks to universities, a preferred target, and also of a bank robbery in South Africa which allowed the attackers to steal $6.7 million.

Do you think that cyber attacks in this month crossed the line and the Cyber Chessboard will not be the same anymore? It may be, meanwhile do not forget to follow @paulsparrows to get the latest timelines and feel free to support and improve my work with suggeastions and other meaningful events I eventually forgot to mention.

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Middle East Cyber War Timeline Part III

Jan 22: Middle East Cyber War Timeline Part I

Jan 29: Middle East Cyber War Timeline Part II

Feb 12: Middle East Cyber War Timeline Part IV

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?

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Continue ReadingMiddle East Cyber War Timeline Part III

Middle East Cyber War Timeline (Part IV)

Another week, another wave of attacks between the two cyber contenders (here: Part I, Part II, Part III).

After some mutual attacks in terms of DDoS and defacements (with a new entry from Morocco and a resounding defacement against the Tel Aviv University Security Studies Program website, the head of the National Cyber Defense Authority), this week has seen the revamping of Credit Cards leaks “thanks” to Zcompany Hacker crew, who dumped more than 200 Credit Cards belonging to Israel And United States.

Even considering this latter event, however, the timeline seems to have confirmed the descending trend, with the early actors of both parties apparently quiet inside their virtual shelters (maybe to elaborate new strategies). But in this apparently calm sky a new thunderstorm threatens the horizon: it is the Anonymous which posted a message promising a reign of terror for Israel…

If you have a look to the Middle East nations involved in the cyber conflict which made attacks or suffered attacks (depicted in the map below that does not include U.S. victim of the latest Credit Card leak and France whose Council of Jewish Institutions was hacked earlier in June), you may easily notice that the virtual geopolitics reflect nearly exactly the real ones (the dotted arrow from Iran indicates the uncertainty of the nationality of OxOmar) with the new entry of Pakistani ZHC.

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Middle East Cyber War Timeline (Part 5)

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.

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Middle East Cyberwar Update (Part VI)

Looks like Israel has approached a “wait and see” strategy, as these last days of cyber war have seen almost exclusively actions against that country without any appreciable response. In a certain sense, most of all at the Israeli site, the cyber conflict seems to have fallen into a rest, even if new actors have entered the scene, as is the case of the Mauritania Hacker Team, who opened with the leak of 2500 Israeli emails and claimed to have hacked the Central Bank of Israel. Despite these events the number and intensity of the attacks is no longer that of the early days.

The frequency of the attacks has drastically fallen, even because the early cyber fighters seem to have disappeared, apart from the AlienZ who, every now and then reappear with some dumps against arab sites (and not only).

In the meantime, Iran is suffering several sparse attacks from the Anonymous, targeting that country in the name of #OpIran, and in contemporary attacks its Azerbaijani neighbors considered close to Israel.

Interesting to notice I also found evidence of internal attacks in Iran against reformist websites considered close to former President Mohammad Khatami. The storyboard follows the same line both in real and virtual world.

Apparently Israel seems not to respond to attacks. A temporary truce or a real turnaround?

(At this link you can find the complete Middle East Cyber War Update and follows @paulsparrows for the latest updates.)

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