If you were keeping track of some official North Korean social media accounts and saw some odd posts from them, that wasn’t a mistake. Apparently they were hacked. Notably, the North’s Uriminzokkiri Twitter and Flickr accounts were hit, and ceased sending out typical posts depicting Kim Jong Un with the military.
Instead, a picture posted Thursday on the North’s Flickr site shows Kim’s face with a pig-like snout and a drawing of Mickey Mouse on his chest. Underneath, the text reads: “Threatening world peace with ICBMs and Nuclear weapons/Wasting money while his people starve to death.”
Another posting says “We are Anonymous” in white letters against a black background. Anonymous is a name of a hacker activist group.
Tweets, on the other hand, simply said “hacked”, and offered links to North Korea related sites. As a rule, the accounts are used to promote state initiatives, praise the North Korean system of government, and promote commentaries from the state-run media outlet – Korean Central News Agency. The Twitter account has been open since 2010, and has approximately 13,000 followers.
This week my mother was talking about ID theft. Several of her friends had their credit card information stolen and used. Fortunately, the credit card companies caught the fraud and helped each cancel the accounts. Mom is worried about her own credit and the safety of her accounts.
And well she should be.
Yesterday it was reported that even the First Lady, Michelle Obama, had her personal information hacked and posted on a website. Some are saying this may be a hoax though it is being reported as valid information. She’s not alone. Similar ID theft has happened to other celebrities including Beyonce, Mel Gibson and even former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Obama’s are fortunate and have the Secret Service investigating. Other celebrities are able to get FBI response but for most of us it’s not so easy.
So, short of getting the Secret Service’s ear what can you do?
If you do nothing else, you can become more aware of where you share personal information online and elsewhere.
Make sure your wi-fi connections are secure.
Monitor your bank and credit accounts. Many banks and credit card providers offer monitoring plans (sometimes at a cost.)
As a show of support for recently deceased Reddit founder Aaron Swartz, hacker group Anonymous has claimed responsibility for hacking into the Department of Justice’s Sentencing Commission website.
The DOJ Sentencing Commission website, www.ussc.gov went dark Saturday morning after a hacking attack by a group of hackers identifying themselves as Anonymous. The group has taken credit for several online attacks and this latest effort was intended to show their anger over Swartz’ suicide earlier this month.
Aaron Swartz was facing up to 30 years imprisonment and $1 million in fines for allegedly using MIT computers and networks to steal millions of articles from online archival and journal distribution service JSTOR.
The attack on the DOJ website is under criminal investigation by the FBI.
In recent videos by the hacker group “Anonymous”, threats were leveled at web sites owned by the likes of Facebook, the U.N. and several banks if the file sharing site MegaUpload.com was not restored. Now the group says that the announcements were only to raise awareness and that no attacks will occur, but that #opglobalblackout (operation global blackout) is still an ongoing operation.
Anonymous Hackers are at it again. This time they have taken down www.OnGuardOnline.gov – The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) guardian website. The group left a message to all US lawmakers:
“If SOPA/PIPA/ACTA passes we will wage a relentless war against the corporate internet, destroying dozens upon dozens of government and company websites. As you are reading this we are amassing our allied armies of darkness, preparing boatloads of stolen booty for our next raid. We are sitting on hundreds of rooted servers getting ready to drop all your mysql dumps and mail spools. Your passwords? Your precious bank accounts? Even your online dating details?! You ain’t even trying to step to this.”
In a plea to have Americans join in the Anonymous cause, the hacker group has requested that computer users show solidarity with them by participating in a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack upon Facebook.com on the 28th.
The attack requires that anyone that wants to participate install a specific malevolent tool and aim them at the social networking site precisely at a certain time on the 28h.
Facebook is firmly against SOPA/PIPA – the legislation Anonymous is seeking to protest with this attack. It would seem that Anonymous is striking at the largest targets just because they can – with the help of millions of Americans willing to commit federal crimes.
What Anonymous does not let their less-knowledgeable public know is that anyone participating in this will be guilty of a felony, subject to civil suits from Facebook and ISP’s and risk losing the ability to use the internet for a decade or more depending upon the decision by the courts. North Carolina State University reports that, “There is a hefty penalty for getting caught disrupting someone else’s services by a DoS attack.Someone found guilty of engaging in a DoS attack will suffer a penalty of 6 months to 5 years in jail and up to a $250,000 fine.”
This attack appears to be part of the January 19th threat to target banks, the U.N. and multiple social networking sites in retribution for the shutdown of file-sharing site MegaUpload.com.
Tens of millions of Americans may feel the wrath of the infamous hacker group “Anonymous” as they threaten phase one of “Operation Global Blackout” over the recent shutdown of file sharing site MegaUpload.com.
The video states that Anonymous has gained access to servers at several banks, the U.N., Microsoft’s XBoxLive, Playstation Networ, Facebook, Twitter and more. While the video makes a short mention of the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act, the groups’ threat is to “black out” the above mentioned servers if their demand for the unconditional restoration of MegaUpload is not met within 72 hours.
The video was uploaded on January 19th and so far the is no movement to restore MegaUpload or that the charges will be dropped. That would indicate that today, January 22nd would be the target date or soon thereafter.
The video gaming and social media platform interruptions will be more of an inconvenience than anything, but a banking system blackout could pose real risk to American’s financial dealings. Outages could mean everything from out-of-service ATM’s, bank tellers unable to process transaction and online banking sites being offline to an inability of banks to process normal debit/checking transactions. The exact level of access and nature of the Anonymous threat is not available in the video nor elsewhere.
While the hackers claim to have access to the banking, gaming and social network servers and the personal information of those that use it, they claim that they won’t use the information.
While directed at members of Congress, the results of the black out will affect every day users of technology – and perhaps some that weren’t aware that their lives were so dependent upon it.
Twitter reactions to the threatened attack have ranged from fear to admiration:
Computers control nearly all aspects of the worlds oil supply today. Increasingly, they are coming under more and more frequent and carefully planned cyber attacks. Hackers conduct industrial espionage and threaten potential global havoc through oil supply disruption.
“If anybody gets into the area where you can control opening and closing of valves, or release valves, you can imagine what happens,” said Ludolf Luehmann, an IT manager at Shell Europe’s biggest company .
“It will cost lives and it will cost production, it will cost money, cause fires and cause loss of containment, environmental damage – huge, huge damage,” he told the World Petroleum Congress in Doha.”
The Hackers are collecting information over prolonged periods of time. Collecting information on specific systems before launching an attack.
The unique problem facing energy companies as opposed to others is that they cannot afford to shut down the fix security patches. “Oil needs to keep on flowing,” said Riemer Brouwer, head of IT security at Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO).
Now not only the skilled, but anyone, thanks to easy access to online videos can hack into a major corporation.
Luehmann said “Everyone can hack today,”. “The number of potential hackers is not a few very skilled people — it’s everyone.”
WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange is an obvious security threat to the United States and its allies. The media is reporting on all the leaked documents on the Iraq/Afgahnistan wars and more recently, the State Department’s diplomatic cables. What we’re not hearing is the more grave threat Assange represents if he falls into enemy hands.
So far, the leaked documents are only a small portion of what Assange holds. The leaks have also been redacted to remove identifying information. Assange holds access to the remainder of those stolen State secrets and his versions do not hide the identifying information. What happens if Iran, China, North Korea or other enemies of the United States manage to actually get their hands on Julian Assange? There won’t be any trial, they won’t ask politely, they won’t worry about international implications for torturing him – they will get access to all of the information he holds.
Those documents are now in the control of one person with no checks on that person whatsoever. If he succeeds in defending himself against the sex crimes charges with which he is faced, he goes free. Free for less-benevolent nations to pursue.
The only solution is for Assange to prove the destruction of all of the documents he holds to the satisfaction of the owner, the United States of America. By his own admission, he is in possession of stolen U.S. government property. That, in itself, is a crime. Then giving that property to the New York Times so that they may profit from it is another, for which the Times should be tried. They sold more newspapers because of the leaks and therefor profited from the sale of stolen property. Why has the U.S. Department of Justice not put the Times on notice?
Now a band of hackers under WikiLeaks umbrella have attacked Mastercard in retaliation for the cut-off of funding to Assange. This is directly related to Julian’s blackmail threat that anyone that got in his way would pay a price. Certainly, there are a few crimes in those words and actions as well.
WikiLeaks must be stopped. This is a matter of National security. The Obama administration must make it too risky for major media outlets to release WikiLeaks documents. Make a case against the Guardian, New York Times and others that chose to profit from the sale of stolen U.S. property and hunt down the Mastercard hackers.