Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Islamic Jihad Creates Cyber War Unit

Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian Islamist group, has created a cyber-war unit to aid its armed Al-Quds Brigades in attacks on Israel:
"It was a response to years of attacks by Israeli hackers, and according to the Brigades spokesman, Abu Hamza, it equals the playing field in cyber-space.

"The Israeli's have worked very hard the past few years on monitoring all the Palestinian websites, especially those of Islamic Jihad and Al-Quds Brigades," Hamza told MENASSAT.

"They (Israeli hackers) hacked these websites and erased them from the electronic boards or even added indecent pictures to them," he said.
"Hamza told MENASSAT that the Brigades had to establish an e-media military unit "because we had to fight the enemy in the electronic media to resist being assaulted on two fronts – physically and virtually."

The article discusses several specific attacks against Israeli interests; mostly web defacements but also discusses attempts at system based attacks against Israeli infrastructure targets:
"Abu Hamza said that the e-media military unit doesn't just work on breaking the security of the Israeli websites – both governmental and civilian –, but it is also "expanding its cyber-reach to include attempts at hacking and bugging the Israeli telecommunications network."

"So far, these attempts have not succeeded," he [said]."

Islamic Jihad’s cyber-war brigades

India's Military Concerned over Chinese Cyber Attacks

India's military is taking steps to counter alleged Chinese intrusions into Indian systems:
"In April 2008, Indian intelligence agencies detected Chinese hackers breaking into the computer network of the Ministry of External Affairs forcing the government to think about devising a new strategy to fortify the system. Though the intelligence agencies failed to get the identity of the hackers, the IP addresses left behind suggested Chinese hands."

The article rambles somewhat between discussion of web defacements in India (with no apparent link to China) and discussion of India's vulnerability to cyber attacks:

"Unless India takes adequate steps to protect itself from external cyber threats, the world famous IT giant could be facing a grim situation. Cyber attacks are dangerous for India because of the growing reliance on networks and technology to control critical systems that run power plants and transportation systems. Cyber attacks on banks, stock markets and other financial institutions could likewise have a devastating effect on a nation's economy.

"As a countermeasure, the Indian armed forces are trying to enhance their C4ISR capabilities, so that the country can launch its own cyber offensive if the need arises. Given Chinese cyber attacks, there is need for the army to fight digital battles as well."

China's cyber warfare against India

Kurdish Immigrant in Germany Convicted for Promoting Terrorism Online

An unnamed Kurdish immigrant to Germany has been convicted and sentenced to three years in prison for posting files and making statements that supported al-Qaeda leaders.

"The court in the northern German city of Celle convicted him on 22 counts of recruiting on behalf of a non-German terrorist organization, which is a crime under German law.

"Defence lawyers had called for the acquittal of the man, who has Iraqi nationality. Presiding judge Wolfgang Siolek said the verdict sets a legal precedent in Germany, as the first where a person has been jailed for remarks on the internet in support of a foreign terrorist cause.

"The court said the internet postings had the purpose of urging others to join in the jihad, and went well beyond a mere statement of sympathy with al-Qaeda, which would have been protected by free-speech laws and would not have been punishable."

Kurd used internet to urge terrorists on: three years jail

Friday, June 13, 2008

China Denies Attacks on U.S. Congressional Computer Systems Becuase It Lacks the Capability

China's Foreign Ministry has denied reports that China was the source of attacks on U.S. Congressional systems because it lacks the technology to do so:
"China denied accusations by two U.S. lawmakers that it hacked into congressional computers, saying Thursday that as a developing country it wasn't capable of sophisticated cybercrime.

"Is there any evidence? ... Do we have such advanced technology? Even I don't believe it," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regularly scheduled news conference."

The article discusses the inconsistency in this statement - China is a leader in high technology; not only manufacturing but in design and development:

"China has a thriving information technology industry and claims to have 221 million Internet users — equal to the U.S. as the most in the world.

"I'd like to urge some people in the U.S. not to be paranoid," Qin said. "They should do more to contribute to mutual understanding, trust and friendship between the U.S. and China."

China denies hacking into US computers

U.S. Congressional Systems Targeted for Chinese Dissident Info - Maybe

Two U.S. congressmen have gone public accusing China as the source of intrusions into their computer systems searching for information on Chinese dissidents.

"Two congressmen, both longtime critics of Beijing's record on human rights, said the compromised computers contained information about political dissidents from around the world. One of the lawmakers said he'd been discouraged from disclosing the computer attacks by other U.S. officials.

"Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., said four of his computers were compromised beginning in 2006. New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith, a senior Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said two of the computers at his global human rights subcommittee were attacked in December 2006 and March 2007.

"Wolf said that following one of the attacks, a car with license plates belonging to Chinese officials went to the home of a dissident in Fairfax County, Va., outside Washington and photographed it."

The article discusses other potential intrusions in the US government systems from China and attempts by investigators to keep the attacks secret:

"Wolf said the FBI had told him that computers of other House members and at least one House committee had been accessed by sources working from inside China. The Virginia Republican suggested that Senate computers could have been attacked as well.

"He said the hacking of computers in his Capitol Hill office began in August 2006, that he had known about it for a long time and that he had been discouraged from disclosing it by people in the U.S. government he refused to identify.

"The problem has been that no one wants to talk about this issue," he said. "Every time I've started to do something I've been told 'You can't do this.' A lot of people have made it very, very difficult."

"The FBI and the White House declined to comment.

"The Bush administration has been increasingly reluctant publicly to discuss or acknowledge cyber attacks, especially ones traced to China."

Other articles have been published discussing the lack of specific evidence that the source of these attacks is actually China and discusses the difficulty in determining both source and motive.

Lawmakers say Capitol computers hacked by Chinese

Weak Evidence Links Congressmen's Cyber-attacks to China

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mandate Extended for the European Network and Information Security Agency

The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) will release a media statement tomorrow announcing the extension of its mandate through 2012.

Mr. Andrea Pirotti, Executive Director of ENISA, stated:
“Network and information security is crucial for the European economy. The need for secure networks, systems and services will certainly not suddenly disappear in 2012. Following the EU parliamentary elections in 2009 and the establishment of a new European Commission, this extension allows for the necessary time to reflect thoroughly upon the activities of ENISA 'post-2012'. Network and information security touches business and the daily lives of citizens in Europe. It consequently needs constant reinforcement to keep up with the evolving threats landscape.”