Feeds

Feds: Hospital hacker's 'massive' DDoS averted

Arrest foils 'Devil's Day' scheme

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The leader of a malicious hacker collective who used his job as a security guard to breach sensitive Texas hospital computers has been arrested just days before his group planned a "massive DDoS" attack for the July 4 Independence Day holiday.

Jesse William McGraw, 25, of Arlington, Texas, was taken into custody late Friday evening after posting screenshots showing he had complete control of computers that administered air-conditioning systems at The Carrell Clinic in Dallas, federal prosecutors said. McGraw also brazenly posted videos showing him installing malware on hospital computers that made them part of a botnet he operated, said a network security expert, whose sleuthing uncovered the breach.

As a contract security guard at the hospital, McGraw had no authorized access to any of its computers. But that didn't stop the miscreant, who went by the handle GhostExodus, from taping himself as he walked down the halls of the hospital with a blue security guard uniform poking out through a gray hoody, as he bragged about gaining control over sensitive computers.

"It's a unique mindset among these hackers," said Wesley McGrew, a 29-year-old network PhD network security researcher at Mississippi State University. "It's all about respect and fame and the respect of their equally weird peers."

According to McGrew and federal prosecutors in Dallas, McGraw was the leader of a hacker gang known as the Electronik Tribulation Army. He had recently posted videos admonishing fellow hackers to carry out a "massive DDoS," or distributed denial of service, attack on July 4, a date he called "Devil's Day". While the target and other details of the attack are unknown, the investigators are taking the threat seriously because McGraw, prior to his arrest, had tendered his resignation as a security guard job effective July 3.

According to court documents, hospital officials had experienced problems with their HVAC, or heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, units and were perplexed why none of the system alarms had gone off as programmed. Had they seen screenshots posted here by someone calling themselves GhostExodus, they would have known why. They images showed the HVAC control window for the hospital's surgery unit. A test alarm setting was turned to "inactive."

"You almost can't help it ya know," GhostExodus writes. "It must be done!"

The essential guide to IT transformation

Next page: GhostExodus outed

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
HP: NORKS' cyber spying efforts actually a credible cyberthreat
'Sophisticated' spies, DIY tech and a TROLL ARMY – report
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?