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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Syrian Electronic Army - A Russian Payback for the NSA and PRISM?

The Syrian Electronic Army - A Russian Payback for the NSA and PRISM?

By Dark Politricks

After recent attacks by the Syrian Electronic Army on big western media and personal targets I think something else is going on than just a renegade bunch of pro-Assad hackers getting lucky by hacking certain websites.

In recent weeks the Syrian Electronic Army has attacked big targets such as Microsoft, Skype,  CNN, the BBC and even Barack Obama's Twitter and Facebook accounts.
It seems to me that someone is sending the west a message.

A message that is meant to mean a lot more than just signalling that they are just a group of good Syrian hackers.

I think the message is meant to say a lot more than: "look I can hack your twitter account", and from a recent talk given by the Israeli PM on the need for Internet security, I think the west are getting a little jittery about their technological supremacy when it comes to obtaining personal information for their own ends.

The recent hack attack on the President of the USA's social media accounts seem to me to be a warning  from a certain country that "you may have the NSA / GCHQ and back doors into all US social media accounts BUT we do as well".

The message from the Syrian Electronic Army when they hacked the account was to remind people being mis-informed by their media and politicians that the Syrian rebels were NOT the moral equivalent of the US "founding fathers" as some idiots were claiming but in fact they were al-Qaeda linked terrorists committing horrible atrocities.

The Syrian Electronic Army reminded the west through the Presidents hacked accounts that the US backed al-Qaeda linked rebels in Syria are committing terrorist attacks that would be condemned if they occurred in any other country than Syria.

From the article:

President Obama’s official Twitter and Facebook accounts – which have a combined audience of 76 million followers – were hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army and used to promote a link to a video which highlights how US-backed rebels are committing terror attacks in Syria.
The account was compromised less than a day after Obama's presidential campaign website was also hacked by the SEA.


As a techie I work with computers every day. I see our own servers being constantly probed with attempts to hack and control them through XSS, SQL Injection and other methods. I even created my own software defence system for a certain big website I had created that our company sells a lot.

After all these years one thing is perfectly clear from analysing the hacks, the majority of them come from Russian servers.

All techies know the Russian Mafia has control of numerous botnets to use for DDOS attacks and other forms of hacking.

The official definition of a BotNet is:

A network of private computers infected with malicious software and controlled as a group without the owners' knowledge, e.g. to send spam.
Many techie magazines have spoken of the recent sophisticated TARGET hack which compromised up to 70 million consumers credit card details and shown how the code that was used could be linked back to older Russian malware.

This TARGET hack attack was so sophisticated no existing anti-virus software could detect it and it has been used in up to 6 other attacks in recent months since the Black Friday shopping weekend in America.

From BGR.

Target on Friday further revealed the scope of the hacking attack it suffered during the busy 2012 Black Friday and Christmas shopping season, saying that additional personal data has been stolen by hackers, on top of credit/debit card information and encrypted pins. The company said that the stolen info includes names, mailing addresses and phone numbers or email address from as many as 70 million Target customers. The number is significantly higher than the previous estimate, which suggested that up to 40 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen.

The investigators have also revealed that any known antivirus software couldn’t detect the malware used, with hackers having also added in features that covered the fact that they were actually copying data from the credit and debit cards swiped in point-of-sale (POS) machines. Interestingly, the malware was programmed to steal data during prime business hours (i.e from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. local time) and store it on an internal Target server that was also controlled by the hackers.

“What’s really unique about this one is it’s the first time we’ve seen the attack method at this scale,” iSight Partners senior vice president Tiffany Jones said. “It conceals all the data transfers. It makes it really hard to detect in the first place.”


So not only do we have Russian linked undetectable hacks going on inside the USA that are stealing money direct from people's credit cards, but we have on the scene a new group of Syrian hackers who seem to be capable of hacking into nearly every major social media website account - just as the NSA can do with their PRISM software.

Whether these hacks are happening through social engineering methods e.g sending a link in an email to trick people to enter their bank or website account details or through the use of comprimised networks, keyloggers, Trojans and other forms of viruses I don't know, but they seem to be succeeding whenever they try.

We all know that Russia is Syria's ally.

Therefore is it too much of a stretch to believe that the Syrian Electronic Army has Russian help or is even formed by Russian military skilled in the art of electronic warfare?

It is only a guess but all these hack attacks on the west come just after Edward Snowden has revealed the scale of the Wests own ability to obtain personal data from the Internet.

Not only that but he has proven that all the major social networks from Twitter to Facebook can be accessed at will by the NSA/GCHQ to obtain users information.

Therefore I am wondering, is this Russia sending back a message that they are perfectly capable of using their own methods to obtain important data or crash / hack websites?

Whether Snowden has anything to do with this or not I have no idea but I think the probability is pretty low. As Glenn Greenwald said if he were a Russian spy they wouldn't have kept him waiting in an airport lounge for months and instead would have lauded him as a hero before rushing him to safety to debrief him of all his secrets ASAP.

The Russians may not host the major backbone servers that the Internet is based upon.

They may not even host any of the major social media sites like Twitter or Facebook that have 500 million users and therefore make it much easier to access the databases of such sites.

However they do have years of hacking experience and probable control of millions of personal PC's that could be used without the owner's knowledge in a coordinated hack attack.

You may even be sitting on an infected computer right now.

One of the first things many sophisticated viruses do is block ports and install their own firewall and virus checking software so that another virus cannot remove them from the infected machine. Therefore you may think your computer is safe from your regular scans but in reality it could be compromised and sending occasional packets of data in DDOS attacks controlled by Russian software.

As I said, this is all conjecture, but the timing of attacks and the targets (western news broadcasters and western shoppers) make it seem like this sort of message is being sent.

The Russian Mafia, who were mainly ex KGB agents when the USSR split up, were the first criminal gangs to start to use hacking and viruses to steal identities, bank accounts and other forms of financial fraud.

Whilst script kiddies in the west were just happy to see their Macro viruses spread the net wiping files from computers before being emailed on to more computers using the infected PC's email contact list - the Russians were out to make big bucks from their hacking.

Therefore it would come as no surprise to me if I was to learn that the Syrian Electronic Army is full of Russian cyber attack specialists and that the hack attacks against the west will continue to rise with ever more sophisticated hacks on the same lines as the TARGET hack.

I may be wrong but it's something to think about.....  

View the original article Are the Russians telling the West that they can hack just as well as the NSA can too? at darkpolitricks.com.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Ping-Pong Free Speech In The UK

Ping-Pong Free Speech In The UK

By Dark Politricks

Following my latest article on the ping-pong politics being played in the House of Commons v the House of Lords at the moment over a bill that will potentially gag campaign groups from speaking out for up to a year before general elections, there will be another vote in the House of Lords tomorrow.
Which way will they go and can you help?
Dear Dark Politricks Readers,
Here’s the plan. Tomorrow, Lords have to decide. Will they vote to put their improvements to the gagging law back in? Or do they give up and let MPs have their way? [1]
A growing coalition of organisations threatened by the gagging law – from Oxfam to Christian Aidthe Countryside Alliance to the Salvation Army – are planning full-page ads in major newspapers for tomorrow morning. They would carry a clear message: the public wants the Lords to hold firm and protect our democratic freedoms.
If we can raise enough money to run the ads, we can be confident they’ll get noticed. The House of Lords is the kind of place where newspapers get read. They’d be the talk of parliament’s tearooms as Lords weigh up how to vote.
The other groups involved will also chip in. But donations from 38 Degrees members will mean more adverts and bigger adverts. Please can you donate now to help make it happen?
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/chip-inhttps://secure.38degrees.org.uk/chip-in
Sometimes the Lords hesitate to challenge elected MPs. But on this occasion we can remind Lords that none of us ever voted for this attack on citizens speaking up. Neither the Lib Dems nor the Conservatives had this in their last election manifesto.
Our MPs need reining in, and the reality is that the Lords are the people in a position to do it.
So, an ad like this will remind Lords that groups representing thousands and thousands of people – charities, campaigners, voluntary groups – all support their attempt to make the gagging law less bad.
Will you chip in right now to make it happen?
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/chip-in
It’s perhaps ironic that in a campaign that is all about protecting democracy, we end up relying on the unelected House of Lords. But the reality is that unless the House of Lords holds firm, the gagging law goes through. That would mean huge new restrictions on everyone’s freedom to speak up on the issues that matter.
And whatever you think about the House of Lords, these adverts would also tell a story that has been true throughout this campaign. The threat of the gagging law has brought all kinds of different people and organisations together. [2] We don’t all agree about everything. But we do all agree that everyone has the right to get organised and speak up for what they believe in. Let’s remind the House of Lords of that.
If enough 38 Degrees members chip in £10 each, we can get prominent space in newspapers like the Telegraph, the Times and the Guardian. Click here to donate:https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/chip-in
Thanks for everything you do,
David, Susannah, Ian, Belinda and the entire 38 Degrees team
NOTES
[1] 38 Degrees Blog: Gagging law: we’re in ping pong!:
http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2014/01/26/gagging-law-ping-pong/Parliament website: House of Lords business schedule for the week:
http://services.parliament.uk/calendar/Lords/GrandCommittee/future.html#!/calendar/Lords/MainChamber/2014/1/27/week.html
38 Degrees Blog: Gagging law: we won the argument but lost the vote:
http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2014/01/22/gagging-law-we-won-the-argument-but-lost-the-vote/
[2] Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement: Petition to Lords with logos:
http://civilsocietycommission.info/petition/


View the original article Ping-Pong Free Speech - Help Keep it alive in the UK! at darkpolitricks.com

Friday, 3 January 2014

The Police Always Ready To Serve And Protect Our Best Interests

The Police Always Ready To Serve And Protect Our Best Interests

By Dark Politricks

To go alongside my festive Metropolitan Policeman's Christmas Card from last year I thought I would print this lovely picture that I just saw on Google+.
Policeman - Ready to serve and protect
Stop Moving Bitch I'm Here To Serve And Protect
Obviously photo's like this do nothing to help the already stained image of our police force.  
An unarmed woman is being chased by a Robocop suited angry cop waving his baton in a striking motion.
I am sure the woman has just asked this friendly cop where the nearest public toilets were or if he could help her find her lost puppy. It had to be something horrible like that to cause such a violent response in the cop. 
Personally I just cannot think of anything that would have enraged this cop so much that he would try to attack her in such a way that could permanently damage her depending on if and where the baton struck her. 

Those extendable metal truncheons hurt you a lot if you get hit by them. If you get hit round the head you could possibly die from the blow as many people have.
Ian Tomlinson an innocent bystander in the 2009 G20 protests in London was hit around the legs by a cop with such a truncheon and he shortly died afterwards from a heart attack. The inquest into his death found that he had been unlawfully killed.

The policeman who had hit him Simon Harwood was charged with manslaughter and was dismissed by the Metropolitan Police for gross misconduct.

The Metropolitan Police settled a civil action by Tomlinson's family by issuing a formal apology for its "use of excessive and unlawful force" against Tomlinson, and agreed to pay an undisclosed sum in compensation.
I have to ask what possible act could this lady have done to enrage a policeman so much that he thought it was necessary to chase and attack her with an extendable metal truncheon?
It's probably standard operating procedures for our now police state enforcers. Dare to defy the overlords and face the consequences serfs!
This is the photo the police were sending round to each other as "a joke" which obviously got released to the public so that we could see the funny sense of humour our policemen have.
Serve and Protect or Beat and Bet Corrupt?
PIGS
Last years UK Metropolitan Police's Christmas Card

View the original Our Police Serving and Protecting article at www.darkpolitricks.com.