Tag: hacker

Hackers ransom a hospital for $3.6 million

bankHackers are holding the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Centre for a $3.6 million ransom.

The hackers are demanding a 9,000 Bitcoin ransom to release the “electronic keys” to unlock computers.

So far details are nearly impossible to get.

NBC Los Angeles is reporting that the hospital’s IT network has been crippled and that staff is redirecting emergencies to other hospitals.

Meanwhile staff are using pen and paper to record patient information and a fax to communicate with other departments. Patients need to come in person to the hospital to pick up test results since the email servers are inaccessible.

Computers are not allowed to be turned on, as the managers fear that more workstations will be affected by the incident. The hospital’s Radiation and Oncology departments have been completely shut down.

So far there is no evidence that patient or employee information has been taken but that is just a small blessing.  Still it is America and the hospital could free itself by paying up and selling a few more asperin to make up the cost.

Gates and Allen hacked to meet girls

young-bill-gatesSoftware King of the World and sworn enemy of the mosquito Sir William Gates III has been telling a story about his school daze with his chum Paul Allen.

The pair apparently hacked the computer at Lakeside School so that they could meet girls. The cunning plan was that they would enrol Gates into classes, where he would be the only bloke which would give him a change.  The only drawback to this plan was that Gates was too “inept” to pluck up more than “a little bit” of courage – ending the venture in failure.

“Unfortunately for him he was two years ahead of me and he was off to college by then. So I was the one who benefited by being able to have the nice girls at least sit near me. It wasn’t that I could talk to them or anything — but they were there. I think I was particularly inept at talking to girls, or thinking, ‘OK — do you ask them out, do you not?’ When I went off to Harvard I was a little bit more sociable. But I was below average on talking to girls,” he told the Beeb.

Apparently the teachers were having a tough time working out how to use the computer, which subsequently gave Gates and Allen access, to see whether they could work out how to use the machine.

Gates and Allen had a good grasp of the computer, they gave programming lessons to some of the other students. Their knack for programming resulted in the two fixing software problems for various companies.

Quantum computer is dead, alive or hacked

schrodingers_catNASA’s Quantum computer may or may not have a security problem.

The D-Wave 2X quantum computer at NASA’s Advanced Supercomputing facility is being used to research a new area of computing.

The machine is also being used by researchers at universities, and it’s hooked up to the internet, like other NASA supercomputers made available to academics.

But NASA engineers, while happy to talk about its capabilities, were less happy about mentioning the security measures in place to stop hackers.

“It’s behind various security firewalls, with RSA security tokens to get in,” said David Bell, a director at the Universities Space Research Association, in response to a question. ”We are very much aware of systems being hacked,” said Rupak Biswas, who heads exploration technology at the NASA Ames Research Centre, in response to another question. “NASA, of course, is a major target”.

But hacks asking about hacking were quickly shut down by a NASA moderator, who said the topic was “for later discussion at another time”.

But given everyone’s obsession about security it is one which might not go away that easily.

What a D-Wave machine does in a second” would take a conventional computer with a single core “10,000 years” to perform a similar task, said Hartmut Neven, director of engineering at Google, told the same news conference.

Hacking such a computer would be a major challenge, but if you did get control of it you could programme it to solve some serious encryption problems rather quickly.  It should make brute force password guessing a doddle.


Anonymous outs KKK members

KKK-1000x600Hacker collective Anonymous has been outing members of the quasi-masonic racist terror group the KKK.

The names of four senators and five City mayors have been included on Anonymous’s list which includes the details of the politicians, their spouses and the local chapter of the KKK to which they are purported to belong. The person who posted the information said they redacted the politicians’s home addresses to prevent anyone taking action directly against them.

Anonymous, the amorphous online activist collective, last week promised to reveal the identity of 1,000 members of the KKK after coming into possession of the private information through a compromised Twitter account associated with the group.

Anonymous hackers have so far published four separate listings on text-sharing website Pastebin, including 57 phone numbers and 23 email addresses.

There has been no verification of the details so far, but Anonymous has vowed to reveal the full identities of up to 1,000 members of the KKK Thursday, November 5 to coincide with the group’s global protest movement, called the Million Mask March.

So far though none of the phone numbers connected to anyone and some on the list are not members of the KKK, with one being a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a historical group populated by relatives of Confederate soldiers.

Anonymous and the KKK have been battling it out in cyberspace for almost a year, ever since the protests in Ferguson when a local chapter of the Klan weighed into the debate by warning that it would use “lethal force” against anyone protesting on the streets of Ferguson.

In its statement addressed to the members of the KKK, Anonymous told the  group: “After closely observing so many of you for so very long, we feel confident that applying transparency to your organizational cells is the right, just, appropriate and only course of action. You are abhorrent. Criminal. You are more than extremists. You are more than a hate group. You operate much more like terrorists and you should be recognised as such.”

Chinese cyber pact appears flimsy

spyThe US’s cyber pact against spying and hacking with China does not appear to be holding.

Hackers associated with the Chinese government have tried to penetrate at least seven US companies in the three weeks since Washington and Beijing agreed not to spy on each other for commercial reasons.

CrowdStrike said software it placed at five U.S. technology and two pharmaceutical companies had detected and stopped the attacks.

President Barack Obama said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping had agreed that neither government would knowingly support cyber theft of corporate secrets to support domestic businesses. The agreement stopped short of restricting spying to obtain government secrets, including those held by private contractors.

CrowdStrike Co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch said in an interview that he believed the hackers who attacked the seven companies were affiliated with the Chinese government based in part on the servers and software they used.

The software included a program known as Derusbi. Derusbi previously turned up in attacks on Virginia defence contractor VAE and health insurer Anthe. Alperovitch said the hackers came from a variety of groups including one that CrowdStrike had previously named Deep Panda.

The intrusion was to facilitate theft of intellectual property and trade secrets, rather than to conduct traditional, national-security-related intelligence collection,” CrowdStrike wrote in its bog.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest declined to comment on CrowdStrike’s findings but said that Obama had “made clear that the United States would judge China not based on its words, not based on any verbal commitments, but based on its actions.”

“You can rest assured that the relevant agencies in the United States government are closely monitoring China’s actions in this regard,” Earnest said on Monday.

Another U.S. cyber security company, FireEye said the state-sponsored Chinese hackers that it monitored were still active but it was too soon to say whether their aims had shifted.

Hack helped hackers

anonA US court has decided that journalist Matthew Keys helped members of the Anonymous hacking collective break into his former employers’ computers.

Keys, 28, was indicted in 2013 for conspiracy to cause damage to a protected computer and two other counts, after being accused of giving hackers access to the Tribune computer systems in December 2010. Keys had just left a job at a Tribune-owned television station after words with a dispute with a supervisor.

The hackers then went on to change a story on the Tribune’s Los Angeles Times website.

Keys denied the charges and his brief Tor Ekeland said he would appeal the verdict.

Sentencing is scheduled for January 2016. The Justice Department has not determined what sentence it will request, but it will likely be less than five years, spokeswoman Lauren Horwood said.

Prosecutors claimed Keys urged on the hackers by giving them a password. But Keys’s lawyer had told jurors he was operating as a professional reporter trying to gather information about members of Anonymous.

The events occurred before Keys joined Thomson Reuters as a Reuters.com editor in 2012. A month after Keys was charged, he said Reuters dismissed him.

UK hacker killed in drone strike

who hacked and recruited for the Islamic State terror group has been killed in a drone strike in Syria.

Junaid Hussain from Birmingham was a key operator for the Islamic death cult and had targeted new recruits for the organisation.

The 21-year-old was said last month to have been number three on the Pentagon’s “kill list” of IS targets and is thought to have fled Britain to travel to Syria in 2013.

A strike specifically targeted Hussain while he was travelling in a vehicle in Syria, sources were said to have told CNN.

Sky News contacted Hussain and his jihadi wife using anonymous online messaging services. The pair sent detailed guidebooks, and suggested that the reporters form gangs and to create a British Islamic State over a long period.

He allegedly told the hack: “It will be big. We will hit the kuffar (unbelievers) hard InshAllah. Hit their soldiers in their own land. InshAllah. Soldiers that served in Iraq and Afghanistan will be present. Jump in the crowd and detonate the bomb.

“They think they can kill Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan then come back to the UK and be safe. We’ll hit them hard InshAllah.”

He had some form on the British hacker scene and was a member of TeaMpOisoN, a group which claimed responsibility for 1,400 hacks.

In 2012 he was jailed for six months after making hoax calls to a counter-terror hotline. He also admitted publishing Tony Blair’s address book a year earlier.

Flash –ahhhh it will kill every one of us

flash-gordonHackers used a hole in Adobe Flash to force Yahoo’s ad network to send malware computers that visit Yahoo’s collection of heavily trafficked websites for a week.

The attack was the latest in a string that have exploited internet advertising networks, which are designed to reach millions of people online

Yahoo shut down the attack but it worked like this. Hackers bought ads across the internet giant’s sports, news and finance sites. When a computer visited a Yahoo site, it downloaded malware code.

The malware hunted for an out-of-date version of Adobe Flash, which it could use to commandeer the computer. Most of the attacks were blackmail sites.

While Yahoo acknowledged the attack, the company said that it was not nearly as big as security researchers were claiming.

“We take all potential security threats seriously,” a Yahoo spokeswoman said in statement. “With that said, the scale of the attack was grossly misrepresented in initial media reports, and we continue to investigate the issue.”

After news of the attack was revealed, Adobe asked users to update Flash so their computers would no longer be vulnerable.

Wiebke Lips, a spokeswoman for Adobe said: “The majority of attacks we are seeing are exploiting software installations that are not up-to-date on the latest security updates.”

China looking to outsource to the US

US local governments are providing sweeteners to Chinese companies in the hope they will set up shop.

Yahoo news said the free market was not providing places like Alabama with jobs and the region has a high unemployment rate.

But the region is finding investors from the Communist Henan Province in China.

Henan’s Golden Dragon Precise Copper Tube Group opened a plant in Alabama last month and the trend is being noticed across the US.

Chinese companies invested a record $14 billion in the United States last year, according to the Rhodium Group research firm. Collectively, they employ more than 70,000 Americans.

Chinese workers are getting more expensive and US energy prices are falling. Mayors and economic development officials are lining up to welcome Chinese investors when a decade or two ago they would have called them Commie infiltrators.

It is in the more conservative Southern states, where obsession with the Bible, women’s wombs and blocking health care has meant a higher number of people on welfare has been at the forefront of attracting the Chinese.

To be fair the US has some advantages of cheaper Chinese plants. Besides access to cheap Mexican labour, firms who set up there can save a fortune on transport costs. 

Hacker exterminates Code Spaces

A hacker has killed off Code Spaces, which is a Subversion and Git hosting provider, used by organisations for project management and development.

The company was doing rather well in the IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) / DEVOPS community but says there’s just no way for them to resume operations.

It all started on June 17 when the site was hit by a well-orchestrated DDOS attack. Nothing Open Spaces could not deal with, but this was just the start.

The hacker gained access to the outfit’s Amazon EC2 control panel and had left a number of messages for us to contact them using a hotmail address. When they spoke to him the conversation involved the hacker trying to extort a large fee in order to resolve the DDOS.

Open Spaces tried to take control back of its panel by changing passwords, but the intruder had prepared for this and had already created a number of backup logins to the panel and upon seeing the admin make the attempted recovery of the account he proceeded to randomly delete artefacts from the panel.

After the outfit got back panel access the hacker had removed all EBS snapshots, S3 buckets, all AMI’s, some EBS instances and several machine instances.

In other words most of its data, backups, machine configurations and offsite backups were either partially or completely deleted.

All this means that Code Spaces will not be able to operate as the cost of resolving the problem and the expected cost of refunding customers who have been left without the service they paid for will put Code Spaces in an irreversible position both financially and in terms of credibility.

“As such at this point in time we have no alternative but to cease trading and concentrate on supporting our affected customers in exporting any remaining data they have left with us,” the site said.