The Syrian Electronic Army - A Russian Payback for the NSA and PRISM?
By Dark PolitricksAfter 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.
For who missed it. #SEApic.twitter.com/9xG4N8kediIt seems to me that someone is sending the west a message.
SyrianElectronicArmy (@Official_SEA16) January 1, 2014
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.
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.