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Tag: hackers

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.

To Combat Hackers, Homeland Security Hires New Experts in Cybersecurity

hacker-artBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security is facing an increasing threat from hackers.

To combat the challenge, Homeland Security held its first-ever Cyber and Tech Job Fail July 27-28 in Washington D.C.

The Federal Times reports positive results: 14,000 applicants, 2,500 walk-in candidates, 842 on-site interviews, 400 prospective job offers and 120 new employees.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson made the announcement as part of October’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month celebrations.

“We thank Congress for new legal authorities in support of our cyber recruitment and retention efforts,” Johnson said. “The department is maximizing its use of these authorities to build our cyber workforce. We also thank the Office of Personnel Management for granting DHS the authority to hire 1,000 cyber professionals this calendar year.”

FBI Intensifies Investigation into Russian Hackers Who Are Disrupting Election

hacker-artBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is boosting its investigation of Russian hackers who are believed to be targeting the Democratic Party and politicians.

Reuters reports that the FBI hopes to get enough evidence to gain indictments against Russians who are behind the cyberattacks.

The State Department said the hacking attempts by Russians are increasing and could disrupt and discredit the November elections.

“Doing nothing is not an option, because that would telegraph weakness and just encourage the Russians to do more meddling, but retaliating in kind carries substantial risks,” said one U.S. official involved in the administration’s deliberations.

Russian continues to deny its behind the hacks.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday that it’s not an easy task to track down and indict the hackers.

“We’re in unexplored territory here, and the president is quite interested in trying to establish international norms,” said Earnest. “I’ll let the FBI speak to what evidence they have amassed, but I think they’re also cognizant of the fact that as soon as they make a declaration like that, most people are going to understandably be interested in seeing that evidence. And some of that evidence may not be something we want to show.”

Alleged Hackers Who Dumped Data about CIA, FBI Were Arrested

hacker-istock-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A hacking group that called itself “Crackas With Attitude” bragged earlier this year about hacking the CIA, FBI and Justice Department, gaining access to thousands of names, phone numbers and email addresses.

Now two alleged members of the group are behind bars, accused of executing the data breaches, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

Andrew Otto Boggs, 22, and Justin Gray Liverman, 24, both from North Carolina, were charged with  conspiring to commit offenses against the U.S. in late 2015 and early 2016.

Among the victims were CIA Director John Brenna and then-Deputy FBI Director Mark Giuliano.

Investigators also are looking into three teenagers in the U.K. who may have been involved.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Authorities said the suspects often gained access to the accounts by calling the help lines at Internet-service companies and impersonating employees at those companies or the victims they were targeting. They were then able to reset the account passwords to their targets’ private email accounts, giving them access to those accounts. Computer-security experts refer to such techniques as social engineering, rather than hacking, because they typically depend on one person tricking another into providing key information that allows the suspect to access private accounts.

The “Crackas With Attitude’’ then used their access to taunt the officials, particularly Messrs. Brennan and Giuliano, with harassing phone calls and public ridicule posted online.

FBI Tries to Become Hip to Attract Elite Coders to Crack Down on Cyberattacks

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of the FBI’s biggest challenges is hackers who are targeting political and financial groups and personal computers.

To combat cyberattacks, the FBI is looking for elite coders who have the technology background to help.

“One problem? A culture clash between elite coders who are attracted to casual — or even rebellious workplaces — and the agency’s bureaucratic reputation,” the Washington Post reports. 

FBI Director James Comey is trying to make the agency hip enough to attract recruits.

“We’re working very hard inside the FBI to be a whole lot cooler than you may think we are,” he said during his remarks at a Symantec Government Symposium last week.

That doesn’t mean the FBI has added “beanbags and granola and a lot of whiteboards,” Comey said.

“But we’re working very hard at marching in that direction, so that when this talent comes into our organization we are open to having them make us better — in a way that connects us and them to our mission more closely,” he said.

The Washington Post wrote:

Despite outreach at high profile hacker conferences like Black Hat and DefCon, recruitment of tech whiz kids by law enforcement and intelligence agencies has been hampered in recent years. One issue is that they have to compete with private sector gigs that can offer better salaries and benefits.

But fallout over surveillance programs revealed in Snowden documents and the FBI’s legal battle to get Apple to help it break into a locked iPhone used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino, Calif., attacks has also made government work a hard sell to some.

FBI Investigating Whether DNC Hackers Also Targeted Clinton Aides

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating whether the Russia hackers who gained access to the Democratic National Committee’s computer networks also targeted aides and organizations close to Hillary Clinton.

The New York Times reports that there’s evidence that hackers attempted to gain access to some Clinton associates through “spear-phishing attacks.”

The DNC has said its system was hacked by Russian hackers, which several private cybersecurity firms have confirmed.

Last month, FBI Director James Comey said hackers tried to tap into Clinton’s private e-mail server but were likely unsuccessful.

FBI Actually Paid Less Than $1.3M to Unlock San Bernardino iPhone

Apple-iphoneBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Despite a suggestion from FBI Director James Comey that it cost the FBI about $1.3 million to unlock an iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, the price tag was a lot more inexpensive.

Business Insider report that the FBI paid under $1 million for the technology to unlock the phone.

Investigators won’t need to pay extra money to use the technology to open other iPhone 5C models running on iOS9.

The FBI paid a contractor to bypass the phone’s encryption features.