According to a new study, hackers might be aiming their sights at the small communication satellite dishes found on oil rigs, ships, banks, and power grid substations.
The systems, that are referred to as VSATs (very-small-aperture terminals), are used in a wide variety of industries, including the media and banks to send data across the planet. But according to a report from cyber-security firm IntelCrawler, at least 10.500 of them are wide open for hacking.
We found thousands and thousands of these systems with what are essentially their digital front doors left wide open,” Dan Clements, IntelCrawler’s President, said according to CSMonitor.com.
“We haven’t looked for direct evidence in the underground that someone has compiled these vulnerabilities on VSATS,” he said. “But common sense says that if we’ve scanned it then others have, too – nation states, cyber-gangs. It’s information that’s out there.”
Hackers seem to be here, there and everywhere in the news this week. Stealing building plans here, weapon plans there and just generally making sure that the international diplomatic core has something to do.
The Washington Post reported that Chinese ‘cyber spies’ had somehow gotten access to what it described as ‘many of the nation’s most sensitive advanced weapons systems’.
Not to be outdone, agents from Iran were attacking US energy firms, according to this, rather unfortunately titled piece in The Register.
However, the Chinese ended up running away with the prize as the ‘most hackingest nation in this week’s news’ by heading south and stealing the blueprints for the new ASIO building in Canberra, Australia.
ASIO is short for Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, so there’ll be some red faces down under – and not just from spending too long in the sun.
The Pentagon have released a new report on cyber espionage that points an accusing finger at China.
“China is using its computer network exploitation (CNE) capability to support intelligence collection against the US diplomatic, economic, and defense industrial base sectors that support US national defense programs,” the report says.
“In 2012, numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the US government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military,” the report continued.
Although it’s hard to know with any certainty, part of the reason for China’s more and more brazen hacking activities might be that there aren’t any international rules that determine how the US, or other countries for that matter, can react to a cyber attack.
The man long suspected to be the insider who leaked confidential US documents to the whistle-blower organisation Wikileaks has pleaded guilty to some of the charges levelled against him by the US Government.
Bradley Manning pleaded guilty to 10 charges of illegally getting hold of and sharing confidential and classified US documents with Wikileaks. He will, in what reeks to the high heavens of a plea bargain deal, serve 20 years of jail time for his transgressions.
It remains a wide open question whether Manning still had some sort of information that the US Government didn’t want him to share. Perhaps this has been what finally brought the long case against Manning to a close.
And I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who will still be doubtful about a) whether Manning truly was the source and b) if he was, was he acting on his own?
A leading member of the loose hacking fraternity that goes by the name of LulzSec has been helping the FBI track down and arrest and number of the group. The hacker who goes by the moniker Sabu, has turned out to be a man by the name of Hector Xavier Monsegur.
Mr. Monsegur was picked up by the FBI some while ago and has since been working for them. Through him, the FBI were able to identify a number of senior members of LulzSec who were picked up earlier this week.
LulzSec is know as an autonomous offshoot if Anonymous, and in an open letter, Anonymous has reacted to the situation by labelling Mr. Monsegur as a ‘traitor’.