Feeds

Latvian hack's hack story leads to hack-hacking

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

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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.®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
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.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.