Feeds

Climate change hackers leave breadcrumb trail

Is anyone looking?

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The hackers who leaked more than 1,000 emails from one of the top climate research centers may have used an open proxy to cover their tracks, but that doesn't mean authorities can't figure out who they are.

Rob Graham, CEO of penetration testing firm Errata Security, said his analysis suggests that the hackers used three open proxies when they posted a 61 MB Zip file of email belonging to staff at the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit. CRU officials say they've brought in police to assist in their investigation into the leak of the internal documents without permission.

Open proxies have long been a favorite of people trying to hide their online identities. By funneling web requests through the third-party, websites see only the IP address of the proxy, rather than the IP address where the request is actually being made. This post by the hackers on ClimateAudit was made using an open proxy located in Russia, while another of their posts used a proxy located in Saudi Arabia.

CRU representatives have said the hackers used a Turkish IP address when breaching CRU security and posting the Zip file on its servers. One would presume its an open proxy as well.

But that doesn't mean the posts were anonymous. Graham tested the Russian proxy used by the hackers and has found it adds the originating IP address in HTTP request headers sent to websites being visited. Assuming ClimateAudit admins log the "X-Forwarded-For:" header, the hacker's identity may already be known.

Of course, the folks at ClimateAudit aren't on the best of terms with CRU, so it's not clear if they'd be willing to reveal the identity of someone who has brought so much scrutiny to one of their adversaries. So far, CRU representatives haven't said much about their investigation, but it's safe to assume the people poring over their web logs are looking for precisely the same type of data.

Graham's analysis is here. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.