Signs of sophisticated cellphone spying found near White House, U.S. officials say

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Members of the Secret Service patrol from the top of the White House. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

 

A federal study found signs that surveillance devices for intercepting cellphone calls and texts were operating near the White House and other sensitive locations in the Washington area last year.

A Department of Homeland Security program discovered evidence of the surveillance devices, called IMSI catchers, as part of federal testing last year, according to a letter from DHS to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on May 22. The letter didn’t specify what entity operated the devices and left open the possibility that there could be alternative explanations for the suspicious cellular signals collected by the federal testing program last year. Continue reading

German intelligence warns of increased Chinese cyberspying

Hans-Georg Maassen said his agency, known by its German acronym BfV, believes more than 10,000 Germans have been targeted by Chinese intelligence agents posing as consultants, headhunters or researchers, primarily on the social networking site LinkedIn.

“This is a broad-based attempt to infiltrate in particular parliaments, ministries and government agencies,” Maassen said.

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Hackers with Russian ties ‘tried to hack into Hillary Clinton’s email five times’

Emails released on Wednesday show hackers sent infected emails to then-secretary of state in an attempted breach

Russia-linked hackers tried to hack into Hillary Clinton’s private email at least five times, emails released on Wednesday reveal.

Mrs Clinton was US secretary of state at the time of the attempted breaches. It is unclear if she clicked on any attachment and exposed her account.

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FBI Links Chinese Government to Cyber Attacks on U.S. Companies

Beijing attacked two U.S. web pages used to beat censors

Computer hackers linked to the Chinese government used two Chinese telecom companies and the Baidu search engine to mount mass data disruption attacks on American websites involved in circumventing Beijing’s censors.

According to a confidential FBI Flash alert sent to U.S. companies on Thursday, investigators determined with high confidence that since the middle of March Internet traffic entering China was used in a data-denial attack against two websites involved in defeating Chinese-based web censorship. The traffic was  “manipulated to create cyber attacks directed at U.S.-based websites,” the notice said. Continue reading

Exclusive – Iran hackers may target U.S. energy, defence firms, FBI warns

Another day, another cyber attack. What’s more alarming at the moment however isn’t clear:

  • The fact that the public is becoming callous after being constantly inundated by stories of another attack each day, thinking tomorrow will be the same as today.
  • The fact that the intelligence community is seemingly always behind on the extent of the damage or how deep America’s adversaries have actually penetrated.
  • The fact that nothing is done in retaliation when it’s a known fact who’s behind the attacks.

Perhaps the answer is D), all of the above. Sadly, much of the American public isn’t even aware of what’s happening or the threat it poses.

 

BOSTON (Reuters) – The Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned U.S. businesses to be on the alert for a sophisticated Iranian hacking operation whose targets include defence contractors, energy firms and educational institutions, according to a confidential agency document.

The operation is the same as one flagged last week by cyber security firm Cylance Inc as targeting critical infrastructure organizations worldwide, cyber security experts said. Cylance has said it uncovered more than 50 victims from what it dubbed Operation Cleaver, in 16 countries, including the United States.

The FBI’s confidential “Flash” report, seen by Reuters on Friday, provides technical details about malicious software and techniques used in the attacks, along with advice on thwarting the hackers. It asked businesses to contact the FBI if they believed they were victims. Continue reading

Stealthy spy software snooping for years: Symantec

The malicious software, dubbed Regin, has a rare level of sophistication and has been targeting government agencies, telecoms, utilities, airlines, research facilities, private individuals and others since at least 2008, according to Symantec Corporation.

Attacks on telecom firms appeared aimed at getting access to calls being routed through networks.

“Regin is a highly complex threat which has been used in systematic data collection or intelligence gathering campaigns,” the Silicon Valley-based computer security firm said in a paper detailing the threat. Continue reading

US experts warn of cyberattack risk over further sanctions on Russia

US officials security specialists warn that Russian hackers may answer new sanctions by attacking computer networks of US banks and large companies.

Officials involved in a White House review of the effects of further penalties on Russia did not respond to questions about whether the study explored the risk of cyberattacks. Even so, two sources said it included revisiting previous classified exercises in which small numbers of computer experts showed they were able to cripple the United States economy in a few days.

Cybersecurity specialists consider Russian hackers among the world’s best at infiltrating networks and say evidence exists that they have already inserted malicious software on computers in the US. Continue reading

The Belarusian Connection

Belarus is a puppet regime of Russia, today’s neo-Soviet Union. Cyber attack units and other state-sponsored units of terrorism are outsourced here (among other neighboring countries), in order to keep blame off the Soviet regime. As we see from a previous post, nuclear weapons might get the green light to be stored there, as in the past. One can only wonder why Belerusians were sourced in the development of ACA software. They might have planted an ability to shut down hospitals in the futue.

U.S. intelligence agencies last week urged the Obama administration to check its new healthcare network for malicious software after learning that developers linked to the Belarus government helped produce the website, raising fresh concerns that private data posted by millions of Americans will be compromised.

The intelligence agencies notified the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency in charge of the Healthcare.gov network, about their concerns last week. Specifically, officials warned that programmers in Belarus, a former Soviet republic closely allied with Russia, were suspected of inserting malicious code that could be used for cyber attacks, according to U.S. officials familiar with the concerns.

The software links the millions of Americans who signed up for Obamacare to the federal government and more than 300 medical institutions and healthcare providers.

“The U.S. Affordable Care Act software was written in part in Belarus by software developers under state control, and that makes the software a potential target for cyber attacks,” one official said. Continue reading

Iran Strikes Back

At this pace, it’s only a matter of time an event this video portrays will happen again. One can only hope this time there will still be a safety net in place.

Iranian hackers took over a University of Michigan computer network during a massive cyber attack on U.S. financial systems last week that continued following comments on the strike by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

According to reports by a leading Internet security-monitoring firm, the cyber attacks against Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, and several other U.S. financial institutions began Oct. 8 when hackers gained control of the university’s College of Engineering network in Ann Arbor. Continue reading