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Posts Tagged ‘hackers’

Hackers expose login details of 450,000 Yahoo! users

The security details of almost half a million internet users have been compromised, after hackers posted what appear to be login credentials to online accounts. Yahoo has confirmed the security breach.

The material was posted by a hacking collective known as D33Ds Company, according to Ars Technica. The group said in a statement at the bottom of the data that they used a technique known as a union-based SQL injection, which preys on poorly-secured web applications.

The hackers claim the information was gathered from a service on the Yahoo network.

The subdomain may to belong to Yahoo Voices, a contribution service which allows user-generated content to be published online, according to security firm Trusted Sec.

The method attacks sites that do not properly examine text which is entered into search boxes and other input fields. Hackers then inject database commands which trick servers into sharing large amounts of sensitive information.

Experts say the passwords were not encrypted – making them vulnerable for any hacker to immediately gain access to online accounts.

Members of D33Ds say they intend the hack to be used as a “wake-up call.”

“We hope that the parties responsible for managing the security of this subdomain will take this as a wake-up call, and not as a threat,” the hackers said in their statement. “There have been many security holes exploited in webservers belonging to Yahoo! Inc. that have caused far greater damage than our disclosure. Please do not take them lightly.”

The latest entries in the information appear to be from accounts created in 2006, which may imply the data is old, or no longer in use.

Android Forums and Formspring were attacked at the same time. They encrypted the passwords that they stored, although there is still a possibility that they could be cracked.

Users are being encouraged to change their passwords immediately, and to check whether they used the same login details for other online services.

It is not yet known whether the three attacks are linked.

Source: RT and Agencies

FBI: Hundreds Of Thousands May Lose Internet In July

WASHINGTON (AP) — For computer users, a few mouse clicks could mean the difference between staying online and losing Internet connections this summer.

Unknown to most of them, their problem began when international hackers ran an online advertising scam to take control of infected computers around the world. In a highly unusual response, the FBI set up a safety net months ago using government computers to prevent Internet disruptions for those infected users. But that system is to be shut down.

The FBI is encouraging users to visit a website run by its security partner, http://www.dcwg.org , that will inform them whether they’re infected and explain how to fix the problem. After July 9, infected users won’t be able to connect to the Internet.

Most victims don’t even know their computers have been infected, although the malicious software probably has slowed their web surfing and disabled their antivirus software, making their machines more vulnerable to other problems.

Last November, the FBI and other authorities were preparing to take down a hacker ring that had been running an Internet ad scam on a massive network of infected computers.

“We started to realize that we might have a little bit of a problem on our hands because … if we just pulled the plug on their criminal infrastructure and threw everybody in jail, the victims of this were going to be without Internet service,” said Tom Grasso, an FBI supervisory special agent. “The average user would open up Internet Explorer and get ‘page not found’ and think the Internet is broken.”

On the night of the arrests, the agency brought in Paul Vixie, chairman and founder of Internet Systems Consortium, to install two Internet servers to take the place of the truckload of impounded rogue servers that infected computers were using. Federal officials planned to keep their servers online until March, giving everyone opportunity to clean their computers. But it wasn’t enough time. A federal judge in New York extended the deadline until July.

Now, said Grasso, “the full court press is on to get people to address this problem.” And it’s up to computer users to check their PCs.

This is what happened:

Hackers infected a network of probably more than 570,000 computers worldwide. They took advantage of vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows operating system to install malicious software on the victim computers. This turned off antivirus updates and changed the way the computers reconcile website addresses behind the scenes on the Internet’s domain name system.

The DNS system is a network of servers that translates a web address — such as www.ap.org — into the numerical addresses that computers use. Victim computers were reprogrammed to use rogue DNS servers owned by the attackers. This allowed the attackers to redirect computers to fraudulent versions of any website.

The hackers earned profits from advertisements that appeared on websites that victims were tricked into visiting. The scam netted the hackers at least $14 million, according to the FBI. It also made thousands of computers reliant on the rogue servers for their Internet browsing.

When the FBI and others arrested six Estonians last November, the agency replaced the rogue servers with Vixie’s clean ones. Installing and running the two substitute servers for eight months is costing the federal government about $87,000.

The number of victims is hard to pinpoint, but the FBI believes that on the day of the arrests, at least 568,000 unique Internet addresses were using the rogue servers. Five months later, FBI estimates that the number is down to at least 360,000. The U.S. has the most, about 85,000, federal authorities said. Other countries with more than 20,000 each include Italy, India, England and Germany. Smaller numbers are online in Spain, France, Canada, China and Mexico.

Vixie said most of the victims are probably individual home users, rather than corporations that have technology staffs who routinely check the computers.

FBI officials said they organized an unusual system to avoid any appearance of government intrusion into the Internet or private computers. And while this is the first time the FBI used it, it won’t be the last.

“This is the future of what we will be doing,” said Eric Strom, a unit chief in the FBI’s Cyber Division. “Until there is a change in legal system, both inside and outside the United States, to get up to speed with the cyber problem, we will have to go down these paths, trail-blazing if you will, on these types of investigations.”

Now, he said, every time the agency gets near the end of a cyber case, “we get to the point where we say, how are we going to do this, how are we going to clean the system” without creating a bigger mess than before.

Official Syrian sites hacked

Several government websites hacked by Anonymous, as crackdown on protests in Homs and elsewhere continues.

The official websites of seven major Syrian cities and several government departments have been hacked, as the country’s government continues an extensive crackdown on anti-government protesters in the province of Homs and elsewhere.

A London-based rights group reported the deaths of four people in the crackdown on Sunday. The websites for the cities of Homs, Aleppo, Latakia, Damascus, Tartous, Deir Ezzor and Palmyra were hacked by members of the Anonymous Operation Syria group on Sunday, with the home pages replaced by an interactive map of Syria showing data on those killed in the government’s crackdown.

The map showed the names, ages and dates of death of those killed since the uprising began in March, putting the death toll at 2,316.

The websites have since been reset by their administrators, with each now only displaying a generic page.

Several other websites, including those of the ministry of transportation and the department of antiquities and museums, were also hacked. The hacked versions of the webpages included a link to a site advising activists within Syria on how to maintain anonymity on the internet in order to evade government tracking.

Homs crackdown

Meanwhile, the Syrian government’s crackdown on the province of Homs continued on Sunday, with a major deployment of troops there. Security forces were also deployed to the Douma suburb of Damascus, activists said. Syrian tanks hit a strategic highway in the al-Rastan area in the early hours of Monday morning, apparently attempting to dislodge army defectors who had taken refuge there, activists and residents said.

Activists reported hearing heavy explosions.

The army defectors have been supporting the pro-democracy protesters in al-Rastan, which is located about 20km north of the city of Homs, along the main highway leading to Turkey.

Activists also said that military reinforcements had been sent to Quseir, a town on the border with Lebanon.

The Syrian army had been strengthening its presence in Quseir on Saturday after civilians had attempted to flee violence in the country.

The initial deployments came a day after activists reported that security forces had killed 12 civilians in the town, and one more in Hama.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based organisation, said that 12 people had been killed in Quseir during raids by government security forces earlier.

The observatory said that security forces had opened fire on protesters in neighbourhoods of Homs, but did not provide any further details or information on possible casualties.

On Sunday, the observatory reported the deaths of four more people, including that of Hassan Eid, the head of the surgery department at the state-run hospital in Homs. Syrian state television said that Eid had been killed by “armed terrorist gangs”.

Three inhabitants of the area were injured when troops loyal to Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, used heavy machine guns mounted on tanks to fire upon the town, after having surrounded it earlier in the night.

The observatory also reported that 10 students had been arrrested by security forces in Dael, a city in Deraa province, on Sunday.

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva has put the number of people killed in the crackdown at more than 2,700 since March 15.

The Syrian authorities say 700 police and army personnel have been killed by “terrorists” and “mutineers”.

Damascus deployment

Also on Sunday, additional security forces were deployed to the Damascus suburb of Douma, which has seen several protests against Assad’s rule, activists said.

Syria has been gripped by almost daily anti-government protests since March 15. While the demonstrations initially called for democratic reform, the protesters’ stance has hardened in the face of a crackdown.

Damascus says that the protesters are not indicative of popular sentiment, and has blamed “armed gangs” and “terrorists” for the violence.

Political pressure on Syria to stop its crackdown on protest was given new life on Saturday as new European Union sanctions went into effect, and Turkey said that it had intercepted an sea-bound arms shipment bound for Syria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Not Winning Cyber War

May 13, 2010 By Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is losing enough data in cyber attacks to fill the Library of Congress many times over, and authorities have failed to stay ahead of the threat, a U.S. defense official said on Wednesday.

More than 100 foreign spy agencies were working to gain access to U.S. computer systems, as were criminal organizations, said James Miller, principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy.

Terrorist groups also had cyber attack capabilities.

“Our systems are probed thousands of times a day and scanned millions of times a day,” Miller told a forum sponsored by Ogilvy Washington, a public relations company.

He said the evolving cyber threat had “outpaced our ability to defend against it.”

“We are experiencing damaging penetrations — damaging in the sense of loss of information. And we don’t fully understand our vulnerabilities,” Miller said.

His comments came as the Obama administration develops a national strategy to secure U.S. digital networks and the Pentagon stands up a new military command for cyber warfare capable of both offensive and defensive operations.

The Senate last week confirmed National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander to lead the new U.S. Cyber Command, which will be located at Ft. Meade, Maryland, the NSA’s headquarters.

Miller suggested the new organization, which is expected to be fully operational in October, had its work cut out for it.

Among its challenges are determining what within the spectrum of cyber attacks could constitute an act of war.

Miller said the U.S. government also needed to bolster ties with private industry, given potential vulnerabilities to critical U.S. infrastructure, like power grids and financial markets.

STAGGERING LOSS

Hackers have already penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and have stolen intellectual property, corporate secrets and money, according to the FBI’s cybercrime unit. In one incident, a bank lost $10 million in cash in a day.

“The scale of compromise, including the loss of sensitive and unclassified data, is staggering,” Miller said. “We’re talking about terabytes of data, equivalent to multiple libraries of Congress.”

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, archiving millions of books, photographs, maps and recordings.

U.S. officials have previously said many attempts to penetrate its networks appear to come from China.

Google announced in January that it, along with more than 20 other companies, had suffered hacking attacks that were traced to China. Google cited those attacks and censorship concerns in its decision to move its Chinese-language search service from mainland China to Hong Kong.

Miller took an example from the Cold War playbook to explain how the United States military would need to prepare for fallout from a cyber attack, which could leave cities in the dark or disrupt communications.

In the 1980s, the Pentagon concluded that the military needed to prepare to operate in an environment contaminated by the use of weapons of mass destruction.

“We have a similar situation in this case. We need to plan to operate in an environment in which our networks have been penetrated and there is some degradation,” he said.

One of the challenges Miller singled out was the development of enough U.S. computer programmers in the future.

“In the next 20 to 30 years, other countries including China and India will produce many more computer scientists than we will,” he said. “We need to figure out how to not only recognize these trends but take advantage of them.”

Copyright 2010 Reuters. Click for restrictions.