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Tag: hackers

Russian Hackers Accused of Attacking U.S. Power Plants, Other Critical Infrastructure

Cyber crime expert, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Top U.S. intelligence officials have accused Russian hackers of waging a widespread attack against America’s nuclear power system, air transportation facilities, water processing plants and other critical infrastructure components.

The FBI and Homeland Security said the Russian government is behind a multi-stage intrusion campaign” involving cyber attacks designed to compromise the country’s electric grid, as well as “commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors,” according to a report released Thursday.

The new report is alarming because it shows Russia is capable of infiltrating and compromising infrastructure that is critical to millions of Americans. “In some cases, information posted to company websites, especially information that may appear to be innocuous, may contain operationally sensitive information,” the report reads. “As an example, the threat actors downloaded a small photo from a publicly accessible human resources page. The image, when expanded, was a high-resolution photo that displayed control systems equipment models and status information in the background.”

Also on Thursday, the U.S. government announced new sanctions against Russia following the indictment of 13 Russians and three Russian companies accused of interfering in the 2016 presidential campaign to help get Donald Trump elected.

Russian Hackers May Have Access to FBI’s Fingerprint-Analysis Software

Fingerprint analysis, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Russian firm with close ties to the Kremlin created the code used by the FBI’s fingerprint-analysis software, raising concerns that foreign hackers may be able to obtain sensitive biometric information on millions of Americans, according to documents and two whistleblowers.

Authorities also are worried that Russians could compromise national security by infiltrating the FBI’s computer systems, BuzzFeed reports

The software also is used by roughly 18,000 of other law enforcement agencies in the U.S.

The Russian code was inserted into the fingerprint system by a French company, a former subsidiary of the Paris-based conglomerate Safran, which concealed Russia’s involvement from U.S. officials.

FBI Warned Trump That Russian Spies, Hackers Would Target Campaign

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just weeks after Donald Trump won the Republican nomination in July 2016, top FBI officials warned him that Russia and other foreign adversaries likely would spy on and even infiltrate his campaign.

Trump and Hillary Clinton were issued the warning during a high-level counterintelligence briefing by senior FBI officials, NBC News reports. They were urged to notify the FBI if they encountered any suspicions.

Less than a month earlier, Trump urged Russia to hack Clinton’s emails during a news conference in Florida. The FBI warned that foreign hackers could endanger  national security because the candidates were about to receive classified information. 

During the campaign, Trump never divulged to to the FBI that his inner circle had met with Russian officials.

Hacker Who Harassed FBI, CIA Directors Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison

Justin Liverman, via LinkedIn.

Justin Liverman, via LinkedIn.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A hacker who exposed private online accounts of the directors of the CIA and FBI, among others, in 2015 has been sentenced to five years in prison.

The Washington Post reports that 23-year-old Justin Liverman harassed leaders at the CIA and FBI and was a member of the “Crackas With Attitude” collective. 

The accounts were breached by a British teenager impersonating officials. Liverman and a co-defendant harassed the victims with the exposed information.

The harassment included threatening and explicit phone messages.

Co-defendant Andrew Otto Boggs was sentenced to two years in prison, and the British teenager is being prosecuted in his country.

Russians Prime Suspects in Cyberattacks Targeting U.S. Nuclear Plants

Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant, via the U.S Tennessee Valley Authority.

Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant, via the U.S Tennessee Valley Authority.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Homeland Security have warned that Russia is the chief suspect behind recent computer network breaches at U.S. nuclear power plants and other energy facilities.

Federal authorities said hackers have been targeting the computer networks of companies that operate the energy plants in what security specialists worry could be a search for vulnerabilities in the electrical grid, Bloomberg reports. 

Among the targets was the Wolf Creek nuclear facility in Kansas, which runs a nuclear power plant on a lake shore near Burlington, Kan.

A joint report from both intelligence agencies did not indicate whether the cyberattacks were intended to cause destruction or access industrial secrets.

But officials were worried enough to issue an urgent amber alert, the second-highest rating for a potential threat.

The possibility that Russia is involved has alarmed U.S. intelligence agencies because Russian hacker managed to disable parts of Ukraine’s electrical grid and are believed to be testing advance technology to disrupt power supplies.

Analysts: Robert Mueller’s Team Could Become Targets of Cyberattacks

cyberattack-hackers-fbiBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s high-powered team assembled to investigate the extent of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election may become targets of cyberattacks by the very people they are investigating, analysts told the Washington Times.

That may help explain why some of the 13 attorneys on the team have yet to be identified. 

Intelligence agencies have said Russian operatives penetrated the system of the Democratic National Committee and the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and targeted state election systems. So it’s no stretch to fear the hackers may try the same thing with Mueller’s team.

“There is no question that anyone involved in a matter this high profile is going to be a target for some sort of attempted cybersurveillance,” said R. David Edelman, director of the Project on Technology, Economy and National Security at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a former director of international cyberpolicy at the White House National Security Council.

Mueller is expected to add “several more” attorneys to his team. So far, officials have confirmed the identities of eight members of the team.

Special counsel spokesman Peter Carr declined to say what precautions that team is taking to head off a cyberattack.

“Naming these individuals publicly makes them targets,” Edelman said. “Every day you can delay, that helps protect them from adversaries — foreign and domestic.”

FBI Never Examined Servers of DNC, But Still Blamed Russia-Linked Hackers

hacking By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI blamed Russian-backed hackers for infiltrating servers of the Democratic National Committee without ever examining the servers.

BuzzFeed reports that no one from the U.S. government conducted an independent forensic analysis on the system. 

“The DNC had several meetings with representatives of the FBI’s Cyber Division and its Washington (DC) Field Office, the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, and U.S. Attorney’s Offices, and it responded to a variety of requests for cooperation, but the FBI never requested access to the DNC’s computer servers,” Eric Walker, the DNC’s deputy communications director, told BuzzFeed News in an email.

The FBI, however, hired a third-part tech security company, CrowdStrike, which concluded in May that the servers had been accessed by Russia-linked hackers.

“CrowdStrike is pretty good. There’s no reason to believe that anything that they have concluded is not accurate,” the intelligence official said, adding they were confident Russia was behind the widespread hacks.

The FBI declined to comment.

“Beginning at the time the intrusion was discovered by the DNC, the DNC cooperated fully with the FBI and its investigation, providing access to all of the information uncovered by CrowdStrike — without any limits,” said Walker, whose emails were stolen and subsequently distributed throughout the cyberattack.

Homeland Security Detected No Evidence of Cyberattacks During Election

ballot box flintBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Fears that hackers would target the U.S. election were assuaged late Tuesday after no evidence of attacks or intrusions were suspected.

Homeland Security said it fielded no reports of cyber breaches, the USA Today reports. 

Still, the threat of a cyberattack appeared to discourage voters, who expressed much less confidence that their vote would count, according to exit polls.

“All the discussions this year about security gave states another measure of protection,” said Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that advocates for elections accuracy.

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