HACKING the Taliban; Anonymous HACKS NATO, and More Anonymous NYC Rock Band RAIDS

Posted: July 21, 2011 by BlackNETintel-2 in BlackNET Intelligence
Tags: , , , , , ,


VS/2; US/1; ATTN: TSP/2; HST/2
July 20, 2011 12:55 PM

Taliban accuses U.S. of hacking phone, website

In the latest battle of the cyber war — the online hostilities where governments and loosely organized groups of troublemakers and invaders attack and defend the electronic gates to information and infrastructure — the Taliban in Afghanistan announced Wednesday it had been hacked.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told The Associated Press that an early morning text message and Internet posting announcing the death of the group’s leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, was fake and the result of a hack.

[Mullah OMAR is to be buried next to Rupert Murdock, according to THE SUN…]
“He is overseeing operations in the country,” Mujahid told The Associated Press. “Outsiders must have hacked into Taliban phones and the website.” Mujahid blamed U.S. intelligence agencies, saying they were trying “to demoralize the Taliban.”

If the U.S. intelligence community did access and manipulate the Taliban’s digital infrastructure, it represents just the latest online attack by western powers against a hostile group. In April, Iran blamed the United States and Israel for a mysterious computer worm named Stuxnet that harmed the Middle Eastern country’s nuclear program.

Similarly, last year, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6, reportedly swapped instructions for assembling pipe bombs on an al Qaeda website with the code for a web page listing cupcake recipes promoted by “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

But the U.S. also finds itself as the target of online attacks. Last week, the Pentagon revealed that in the spring it suffered one of its largest losses ever of sensitive data in a cyberattack by a foreign government.

And the FBI recently conducted some offline actions against the loosely organized group of hackers called Anonymous, making more than a dozen arrests across the United States Tuesday. The amorphous group sympathetic to WikiLeaks has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against corporate and government websites around the world.

Mullah Omar has led the decade-long insurgency against the U.S.-led military coalition and the Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai. He ruled most of Afghanistan as leader of its Taliban government before the United States and its allies invaded on Oct. 7, 2001, in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Violence has spiked recently as Afghan security forces start to take charge of security in seven areas — a process that is to continue until they are in the lead across the nation by 2014, when foreign combat troops will be gone or in supportive roles.

On Sunday, Bamiyan province, a relatively peaceful area in central Afghanistan, became the first area to begin transition. Two days later, U.S. forces turned over control of Mehterlam, the capital of Laghman province in the east.

On Wednesday, coalition forces transferred responsibility in Lashkar Gah, the provincial province of Helmand in the south.

“We are handing over the responsibility and duty of the security, stability, development and future prosperity of our people to the powerful hands of our chosen brave youths and countrymen,” Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak said at a ceremony in Lashkar Gah.

Later this week, transition is to begin in Herat, the provincial capital of Herat province in the west; Panjshir province, north of Kabul; and Mazar-i-Sharif in Balkh province in the north.

Insurgents have been targeting the transition areas to convince the Afghan people that they cannot trust Afghan security forces to protect them.

On Wednesday, a suicide bomber on a bicycle blew himself up in Mazar-i-Sharif, killing four civilians, including a child, said Sher Jan Durani, a spokesman for the provincial police chief. More than 10 others were injured in the bombing, which occurred in the south end of the provincial capital of Balkh province.

Earlier this week, U.S. forces turned over control of Mehterlam, the capital of Laghman province, and all of Bamiyan province, which has seen little violence. All of Kabul province except for the restive Surobi district is already in the hands of Afghan forces.

Also Wednesday, a gunbattle killed three Afghan police officers and two insurgents in the southern city of Kandahar. Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said police came under fire overnight when they surrounded a home where insurgents were believed to be hiding.

Sediqqi said the three dead policemen included the district chief.

Twin explosions late Tuesday in the eastern city of Ghazni killed four civilians and wounded more than 20, said provincial police chief Zirawer Zahid.

NATO also announced it had killed numerous insurgents belonging to the al Qaeda affiliated Haqqani network during a Tuesday raid in the eastern province of Paktika, along the border with Pakistan.

It did not provide an exact number for the insurgents killed in the Afghan-led operation. The Haqqani network, which supports the Taliban, operates in a number of Afghanistan’s eastern provinces and retains safe havens in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas. NATO also said it killed several insurgents during a raid to capture a Taliban leader in eastern Nangarhar province.

CBSNews.com Special Coverage: Afghanistan
© 2011 CBS Interactive Inc.

Anonymous claims it hacked NATO Web site
By Ellen Nakashima, Thursday, July 21, 6:37 PM
The group calling itself Anonymous on Thursday claimed credit for hacking into NATO servers and stealing 1 gigabyte of sensitive information as part of its campaign to harass and humiliate prominent targets.
The group has attempted to post two documents collected in the incident and vows to post more soon.
“NATO is aware that a hackers group has released what it claims to be NATO classified documents on the Internet,” Damien Arnaud, a spokesman for the trans-Atlantic military alliance, said in an e-mail. “NATO security experts are investigating these claims. We strongly condemn any leak of classified documents, which can potentially endanger the security of NATO allies, armed forces and citizens.”
Groups calling themselves “hacktivists” — which target Web sites and servers in pursuit of political agendas — have now joined the list of cyber threats identified by government and corporate security officials.
“It is one of the up-and-coming biggest concerns for the FBI,” said Robert E. Nickel, unit chief in the Cyber Division’s Public Private Alliance Unit, speaking at a cyber conference last week.
But he added, “The good news is, when those guys are caught, they fold like a house of cards. When someone from the FBI comes and says, ‘You’re looking at 20 years for hacking into the CIA Web site,’ they rat on everybody.”
In May, the NATO general rapporteur, Lord Jopling, released a draft report on information and national security that mentioned Anonymous as a “one of the most prominent group of on-line hackers.” He stated that the group was becoming more sophisticated and “could potentially hack into sensitive government, military and corporate files.”
Anonymous has conducted denial-of-service attacks to disrupt access to Web sites of PayPal, Visa and Mastercard in retaliation for the companies’ suspending the accounts of WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy site that posted classified U.S. government data.
Anonymous has “declared war on NATO,” said Richard Stiennon, a cyber expert and author of “Surviving Cyberwar.”
The FBI also has targeted Anonymous and related hacker groups. On Tuesday, it arrested 14 suspected Anonymous members for alleged roles in attacking PayPal.
“We anticipate in the long run that with a group like Anonymous, when we arrest, prosecute and sentence them to lengthy prison time, that will help” reduce the activity, Nickel said at last week’s conference.
Anonymous and LulzSec, a related group, on Thursday morning issued a message to the FBI, saying “Your threats to arrest us are meaningless to us as you cannot arrest an idea. … We have become bandits on the Internet because you have forced our hand. … We’re back — and we’re not going anywhere. Expect us.”
Staff writer Hayley Tsukayama contributed to this report.
© The Washington Post Company

FBI Conducts ‘Anonymous’ Raid at McKibbin

No arrests, former residents unaware of any ‘hacking’

BushwickBK –
They’re not ‘Anonymous” anymore,” Rupert Murdoch’s Post cockily opens this morning’s piece on a federal raid against the activist network. The FBI executed several search warrants across the country and arrested 16 people in 10 states accused of attacks on the online payment service PayPal. None of the arrested were in New York, but two sites were searched: a home in Long Island, and one of the McKibbin loft buildings.

The residents had hastily packed up and left about a month ago, a neighbor at 255 McKibbin Street told the Post. But the residents, members of a band called “Broken Glow,” part of the Potion Collective group of bands and artists once based at defunct Potion café, didn’t leave because they knew they were being watched.

The band’s departure, however hasty, had nothing to do with the investigation into the attacks, band member Garrett Deming told BushwickBK. “Our lease was up, people knew where we were going,” 
Deming said. He and his roommates moved to a new apartment in North Bed-Stuy, and still visit McKibbin Street often. The wireless was unlocked, Deming said; as far as he knows, anyone on his block could have piggybacked on his internet connection.

“Anonymous” orchestrated a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on PayPal’s website. If enough people join an attack, it can hobble or shut down the targeted server. No hacking or stealing is involved.
To participate in a DDoS attack, it’s not necessary to be a hacker or have much technical expertise at all. 
A simple browser with a form field for a URL is the only necessary tool; during the recent Arab revolutions this was used to attack the websites of the Tunisian, Egyptian, and later Libyan governments.

PayPal had frozen the account of WikiLeaks, a website that facilitates anonymous whistleblowing, soon after the publication of diplomatic cables leaked from the State Dept. The service had also briefly shut down the account of the support network for Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of leaking the cables and other documents. Visa and MasterCard were also targeted in “Operation Payback” for refusing donations to WikiLeaks through their services.

The Post and its beleaguered owner may be feeling triumphant over the small scoops made against Nassau County 16-year-olds and underemployed band members in Bushwick. But with the recent massive, successful hackings against governments, banks, military contractors, and even “cybersecurity experts,” protectors of state secrets may be celebrating a bit too soon.

For his part, Deming is thrilled with the attention his band is getting, even if misguided. “We’re about to release a new album, I’m happy to have my band name mentioned anywhere!”


[Information contained in BKNT E-mail is considered Attorney-Client and Attorney Work Product privileged, copyrighted and confidential. Views that may be expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of any government, agency, or news organization.]

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