Feeds

Latvian hack's hack story leads to hack-hacking

'Don't try jumping higher than your own...'

Build a business case: developing custom apps

An enraged Latvian hacker went batshit over an article criticising security at small, low-cost hosting companies and defaced the website of the news agency LETA.

The hacker used sophisticated techniques to fight off efforts to restore service to hundreds of the news agency's customers.

LETA, which is privately owned, calls itself the national news agency of the small Baltic republic and has been operating for more than 90 years, including some 50 years under Soviet rule or occupation, as Latvians call it. Its only competitor is Baltic News Service (BNS), a regional news agency with branches in all three Baltic countries.

The hacker replaced the home page of LETA (www.leta.lv) with a statement (translated from Latvian) that said:

Dear colleagues, before publishing the views of doubtful experts about small server hosting companies and discussing (their)competence, I suggest you review the content of this defamatory news story and stop publishing these offensive advertorials. As you can see, nothing is safe and unbreakable – if needed, therefore, don't try to leap higher than your own a(rse). Thanks for your attention.

According to sources close to LETA, the news agency's internet resources were thinly protected and consist of “layers” of software of various ages and degrees of obsolescence, but the hacker's attack showed signs of a high degree of professionalism and knowledge of security issues.

The news story in question (authored by Juris Kaza) told of yet another defacement of small business homepages, with security experts saying that this tended to happen when low-cost, small hosting companies were used.

The story quoted a representative of the Latvian office of Spanish-based Panda Software as saying that the company and others offered solutions for small businesses (including hosting companies) that could prevent mass defacement attacks.

The story also quoted the marketing director of a local data security company with ties to Russia's Kaspersky Lab who had noticed the defacements and passed on a list of URLs to LETA, allowing the reporter to confirm that some pages were still defaced, others restored.

LETA had earlier run a few stories chronicling defacements and quoting sources whose possible commercial bias was well known to most readers. None of these stories elicited any hostile response.

Interestingly, when news portals and other media reported LETA's difficulties, it triggered many comments from readers supporting the hacking of LETA and expressing disdain and hostility toward journalists in general.

Hacker attacks are a crime under Latvian law, but prosecution is difficult because of a lack of qualified police and a requirement to specify monetary economic loss, which can be difficult to quantify.

Latvia, with a population of just over two million, is considered relatively advanced as an IT country. It boasts some of the world's fastest internet connections (100 Mbps to 500 Mbps over fiber-to-the-home offered by telco Lattelecom) and is home to the subsidiaries of international IT companies (Accenture, Tieto) and domestic software and solutions providers (Exigen Services).

Juris's blog post on the hack is here.®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Know what Ferguson city needs right now? It's not Anonymous doxing random people
U-turn on vow to identify killer cop after fingering wrong bloke
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.