Archive

Archive for January, 2012

The head of Interpol: ‘Terrorists plan on email. And we can’t track them’

Ronald Noble: ‘Terrorists plan on email. And we can’t track them’

Source: (Independent.co.uk):

As a former head of the US Secret Service, Ronald Noble knows only too well how terrorism, drug-smuggling and people-trafficking cross borders which individual police forces cannot. He is now Secretary General of Interpol, and a specialist team from the organisation he has spent 11 years rebuilding will next summer help the Metropolitan Police combat those crimes and others, during the huge security operation protecting the 2012 Olympic Games.

Meeting The Independent before visiting Scotland Yard to discuss arrangements for the Games, Mr Noble said he recognised that some people are scared the event could bring an increased threat of violence to the UK.

“In terms of terrorist activity, there is talk, there is chatter, that follows any major event,” he says, but adds Interpol has “not seen or heard terrorists saying we’re going to target this event”.

“We try to think like terrorists would think,” he continues. “A smart terrorist would know that if the world’s attention is focused on something and they commit a terrorist act it will help them create the kind of fear that would make people want to leave London.

[…]

“My concern is that the people planning that attack – that nuclear attack, that bio-terrorist attack, that attack that should concern us all as a world – would be able to plan it more effectively because we don’t have a network in place for tracing the source of email messages on the internet,” he says.

“One of the things I want to do … is to create a cyber-fusion centre, where police around the world can go to one place quickly and find out the source of any kind of message or communication that’s come across the internet.”

That in itself may alarm some. But Mr Noble emphasises the centre will only target specific, suspicious emails, saying it simply could not track all the messages from billions of innocent people even if Interpol wanted it to.

Nevertheless, some civil liberties groups have questioned Interpol’s accountability and transparency.

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Anonymous’ Stratfor hack outs intelligence officials across the world

RT:

The hackers responsible for a Christmas Eve attack on consulting firm Stratfor released more information over the weekend, this time divulging email addresses, log-ins and passwords for thousands of affiliated parties.

Among those affected by the dump of data include hundreds of officials within both the US and UK intelligence communities, as well as the American armed forces. Roughly 19,000 email addresses ending in the domain extension .mil for the US military were published in the leak. John Bumgarner, a cyber-security expert at the US Cyber Consequences Unit, mulled over the data for the UK’s Guardian and said that info on 173 individuals deployed in Iraq were among those published in the latest posting.

Also targeted in the latest leak are 242 staffers with NATO and two men on the who’s who of twentieth-century American politicians: former Vice President Dan Quayle and Henry Kissinger, secretary of state under the Nixon administration.

Stratfor, a Texas-based consulting firm, was victimized by hacktivists believed to be aligned with the online collective Anonymous. On December 24, 2011, initial information on the infiltration was first published to the Web, which has since been punctuated by a sprinkling of other data dumps, including the latest over the weekend. Millions of emails have also been obtained by the group, though the correspondence remains to be revealed to outsiders.

Once made public, however, the rest of the data uncovered in the attack could serve as some serious fodder for lobbying complains against those with ties to Stratfor.

“The Stratfor operation may yield the most revelatory trove of information ever seized by Anonymous,” Barrett Brown, an operative close to the hack, tweeted on Christmas Eve. To the Daily Mail, Brown added that the emails could “provide the smoking gun for a number of crimes of extraordinary importance.”

Virus could disable cyber attack source

Space Daily;

Japanese computer scientists say they’ve developed a computer virus that can be launched online to track down and disable the source of a cyber attack.

While many computer experts say they remain skeptical, such a development would solve one of the major problems encountered by the online security community — the so-called source attribution problem.

Attackers can launch malicious viruses or denial of service attacks by using layers of proxy servers or a botnet to disguise their source Internet address, masking the true origination of the attack. The Japanese company Fujitsu, working on a three-year project for the Japanese Ministry of Defense, said it’s not only worked out how to solve this attribution problem but also how to destroy any attacking code it meets en route, NewScientist.com reported Wednesday.

“The “virtual cyberweapon” has passed tests in closed networks in which it jumped between attacking computers, reached the origin of the attack and sent back ID information to its controllers, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

Rik Ferguson, director of security research at British company Trend Micro, says he’s not so confident in the results.

“It is not a simple matter to ‘break into’ a computer that is found to be part of a chain of attack,” he said. “If it were possible to backtrack through every stage of the attack chain and examine data then this task would be made significantly more simple, but that is and remains a major challenge ethically, legally and technologically.”

Security firm Imperva warns a defensive virus such as Fujitsu’s could be “a disaster in terms of going after the wrong people.”