Feeds

Vandals break into congressman's office, install Linux on PCs

Grimm: 'Very ignorant' attack

Seven Steps to Software Security

A US congressmen has been left incensed after miscreants installed Linux on computers at his campaign office, possibly thrashing some data in the process.

Michael Grimm, a Republican who represents a district in New York covering Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, has slammed the weekend break-in to his offices on as a "politically motivated" crime against the democratic process.

"Whoever did this, the people responsible are very ignorant [sic], and they don't understand that this is not just an attack against me or my campaign," Grimm told the Staten Island Advance. "This is an attack against a federal campaign office, which is an attack on our democracy as a whole. It's an attack against what we stand for, for free elections."

Police sources told the New York Daily News that in the absence of evidence of forced entry to Grimm's campaign headquarters, the case is being investigated as an act of criminal mischief rather than a burglary. Three windows were broken at the offices, which were not fitted with a security alarm, on Saturday night. The damage was discovered by campaign staff on Sunday morning (23 September).

According to a statement by the Grimm campaign, large stones and concrete were thrown through the campaign office windows during or around the same time miscreants "corrupted and erased the hard-drive of the campaign computer server, which contains confidential campaign files and polling data", by installing Linux*.

Fortunately staff reportedly backed up hard drives hours before the crime. Staten Island Advance added that Linux was installed on the office computers without revealing the flavour of open-source OS the perps used or the number of machines affected.

The Grimm campaign said it keeps the personal information of its volunteers, such as addresses and phone numbers, at a separate location, so that information was not stolen or compromised.

Grimm characterised the break-in as cowardly and suggested it might be part of some wider dirty tricks campaign.

"Violence is violence. Throwing large stones and concrete through the window is an act of violence, and we've got to take it seriously," Grimm said. The incident follows the theft of lawn signs promoting Grimm's re-election bid as well as a "mysterious computer shutdown in the middle of the night" at Grimm campaign HQ.

First term congressman Grimm, 42, a former FBI agent and Marine, is running for re-election in November against Democrat Mark Murphy. A Murphy spokesman condemned the break-in.

In addition to the NYPD, US Capitol Police have also been notified about the break-in.

Grimm is the subject of a federal investigation into fundraising that took place during his successful 2010 campaign. Rival Murphy has called on Grimm to return controversial campaign contributions obtained via an Israeli businessman, which Murphy alleged had been extorted from the congregation of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto. ®

Bootnote

*Data from the congressman's computer would probably be recoverable, even after Linux was installed, according to data recovery experts. Simon Steggles, a director of UK-based computer forensics and data recovery firm Disklabs, said that data would be recoverable "unless the data on the hard drive has been overwritten… in which case, it will be impossible to recover."

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
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
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
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.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.