Feeds

FBI sends memo to US.gov sysadmins: You've been hacked... for the past YEAR

Claims Anonymous hacktivists have been pilfering info through leaky backdoors

Seven Steps to Software Security

Hacktivists allegedly affiliated with Anonymous have been covertly breaking into US government systems and pilfering sensitive information for nearly a year, the FBI warned last week.

The attacks (which began last December and are thought to be ongoing) exploit flaws in Adobe's ColdFusion web app development software to plant backdoors on compromised systems, according to an FBI memo seen by Reuters. The memo said the US army, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, and others had all been targeted.

Officials told the news agency that the warning was linked to attacks allegedly carried out by Lauri Love, 28, of Stradishall, England and others. Love alone was indicted in New Jersey last month over a string of attacks that matches that latest warnings.

A DoJ statement on the indictment lists 10 attacks against US government systems, eight of which are blamed on ColdFusion exploits1. The remaining two attacks were blamed on SQL injection-style assaults.

Some of the breaches have been publicised by Anonymous under the a campaign dubbed Operation Last Resort (‪#OpLastResort‬), which aims to protest against the overzealous prosecution of computer crime suspects including Aaron Swartz, a programmer who committed suicide under the shadow of a prosecution for computer crimes after he systematically downloaded academic journal articles from the JSTOR digital library.

The FBI is urging government sysadmins and website administrators to take urgent remedial action to contain the problem, which it warns is more serious than recent press reports of hack against US government systems might suggest.

"The majority of the intrusions have not yet been made publicly known," the Feds warned, Reuters reports. "It is unknown exactly how many systems have been compromised, but it is a widespread problem that should be addressed."

News of the warning broke late last week shortly after Anonymous affiliated hacker Jeremy Hammond was jailed for 10 years for hacking into the systems of private intelligence firm Stratfor and stealing credit card details and emails.

Hammond claimed in court that LulzSec suspect turned super-snitch Hector "Sabu" Monseigneur had encouraged him to hack into the websites of various governments under the AntiSec banner. An earlier (more concise) statement from Hammond along the same lines can be found on the FreeJeremy support website here.

The harsh sentence against Hammond prompted elements of Anonymous to re-launch ‪OpLastResort‬, with a video about the ongoing Edward Snowden revelations that refers to "Global Cyberwar II". Apparently Global Cyberwar I happened two years ago. ®

Bugnote

1 Separately security firm Hold Security has linked attacks against ColdFusion version 8 to the recent high-profile theft of Adobe source code as well as attacks against LexisNexis and others.

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
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
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.