Krypt3ia

(Greek: κρυπτεία / krupteía, from κρυπτός / kruptós, “hidden, secret things”)

Archive for the ‘Hacking’ Category

Phone Hacks Or Intercepts: Bezos’, Pecker, Sanchez, MBS, A Pragmatic Approach

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This whole thing about the Bezos’ dickpics is running amok in the media with panel after breathless panel dribbling on ad nauseum. Wanking on over whether or not a nation state secret service intercepted those texts and photos or if AMI (The National Inquirer) hacked them with the help of sleazy private investigators and or the brother of the mistress has me apoplectic every time it’s thrust in my face on the news. I finally decided to put this post together with some sense making to counter all the stupid out there. Of course the funniest thing about all of this though is that I have yet to see any of the hacking talking heads that usually show up like Dave Kennedy being dragged out to assess how easy or hard it would be to just hack a phone or an account. Who knew they would not be clambering to get more news cycle attention to pimp their services huh? Anyway, let’s do a little dive into what Bezos likely has as a phone, how easy they are to hack, and how likely that a bad actor like MBS and his secret services, a paid group, or just the brother of the mistress with a grudge were the culprits shall we?

What phone does Bezos likely have and how hack-able is it?

According to the babbling of the news media, claims have been made that Bezos has security and as such his phone is likely harder to hack. Well, let’s put that to the test and see. I did some looking and as of 2017 he was still using a Fire Phone, his own product and that runs on Android. A little more Googling and you can see that it had seven vulns that included DoS and overflow attacks in 2018

FireOS is based on Android 4.2 JellyBean and that had a host of vulnerabilities as well. So unless Bezos was using some super secret hardened version of JellyBean or FireOS then it is likely that even with iterations today he might have, it is still quite hack-able in all reality. So with that information one has to wonder at all this reporting that it HAD TO BE a nation state or that this was some exotic attack on a hard target.

Sorry, no.

INCONCEIVABLE!

Meanwhile, if indeed Bezos had another phone, he was spotted before with ANOTHER  model of phone (Samsung) which also uses Android as it’s base operating system. If you are in the hacking or security community, then you know that Android is a hot mess security wise because Google could really give a fuck, so there you  have it. Unless Bezos decided to get a Black Phone (which still had issues) I am gonna say it would not be hard to hack him with a phish with a bad .apk file and own him.

Sorry media, go home, you’re drunk again.

The facts are that unless Bezos got his hands on an NSA encrypted and hardened phone like the one that Obama had (which was Blackberry) then it is likely trivial to attack his phone and own him. That’s the fact and everyone should take that into account when listening or watching these talking heads on TV. Of course, this is not to say that it wasn’t MBS or minions he hired or AMI that did this because these are TRIVIAL hacks and one could pay easily for someone to do it. It would not take the NSA or that level of nation state access intercepts to get the data Pecker has.

What are the odds that a bad password(s) and an automatic backup to the cloud are responsible here?

Right, so what about bad passwords? I mean hell, Manny’s password to all his secret bad dealings was “bond007” right? So is Bezos using a good password vault with 16 character passwords and rotating them often? Well, I cannot say, but what I can say is this; “security is hard and OPSEC is even harder for regular people” This means that it is entirely possible that Bezos password could have been weak and he may not have changed them as regularly as might be needed for someone who is a higher risk target right? I am sure he has minions and possibly a security detail, but, think about this, would you want your security detail to have your password to your dickpic mistress phone?

This also brings up another question…. Did he have a mistress phone? Something separate from his regular phone and hidden so the wife would not see? You have to ask yourselves this question as well when thinking about this whole “affair” right? Let’s say Bezos bought a burn phone and used that instead of his primary phone to send his dickpics and stupid stupid texts mooning to his side piece? It’s not something you would really want to have laying about for the wife to find and nothing that could be directly tied to you in some ways, I mean sure he sent photos of himself, not just his junk, so yeah, not the greatest OPSEC there either. But would such a phone have less security because it was not hardened by the security detail?

Hmmmm….

Either way, passwords and access to Google (since I think he is still using Android) is problematic and unless he had all the 2FA turned on and alerting, he could have easily been pwned due to his own stupidity with passwords and access security.

What are the chances that physical access to the mistresses phone are to blame?

Ahh this mistress… Well all of the things above could play with her as well. It could have also been physical access to the phone by others as well. Let’s face it, Sanchez could have been using her dogs name as a password to all her accounts for all we know. She is the weakest of weak points as far as I am concerned in the security picture in this story. It seems that a running theme in the story seems to be that the mistresses brother is tied into the Trump camp and its acolytes so there is a chance that he accessed her phone either physically or perhaps he had a password to gather the details and leaked them to AMI.

Think about that though….

You would have to be one cold bastard as a family member to hack into the sister’s phone and dump pics that seem to include some nudity on her part as well to AMI right? I mean that is some serious pathology there. Keep that in mind further down this post ok? *turns over standing presentation board with pics and yarn connections* So yeah, it could be the brother, or it could be anyone who had proximity to the phone and a desire to carry out this attack on her and Bezos.

I am unaware of what phone the mistress is using but I am willing to bet that she is not as security conscious as Bezos might be. It could even be that Bezos and her both had burn phones that were insecure, who knows right? Suffice to say that the mistress and her electronics hygiene may have in fact been the vector of the leak and everyone has to take that into account even if you are thinking that this was carried out by nation state actors like MBS or Russia. It would be a soft target campaign with phishing, physical access, and stupidity that would win the day and would not take that much effort really.

Was it a nation state intercepting Bezos and just handed this over to Pecker and AMI?

Speaking of nation state actors here’s the deal…

It’s quite possible. It would likely be trivial to attack the weak link (mistress) and gather all the intel. In fact, let’s suppose the nation state actors did do this, it would not only be dick pics that AMI might have. It is possible that they also have audio and video captures of phone calls and the like as well. How do we know that Bezos and the mistress didn’t make any videos together as well? Or perhaps little videos for one another?

Ponder that one too.

The fact of the matter is that nation state, hired hackers, or sleazy PI’s could all have done this and all have passed on even more dirt to use against Bezos and his mistress and it all sits somewhere in a safe on an external hard drive right? All I am saying is that there may be more to come in the future if at some other time AMI and or others decide to go nuclear on Bezos. I will sit back and watch the fires burn and sip my whiskey when it all comes down. At the end of the day it cannot be said that it wasn’t a nation state that did this and there are hints and allegations that AMI might have that avenue of interest with MBS and Saudi to have made this happen.

My biggest problem though with that is that it was so fucking hamfisted in it’s being carried out that makes me wonder if it wasn’t just AMI doing what they have been doing since they started their yellow journalism agitprop fuckery. I would hope that a nation state would be smoother than; “It would be a shame if something happened to that marriage you have there” but hey, we are in the Trump era of thuggery and clown cars full of Russians right? So yeah, entirely possible it was MBS in the conservatory with AMI and a phone hack. Time will tell though, but let’s not make this into a James Bond epic huh?

What are the chances that this was a honey-trap?

Ok, breaking out the muder conspiracy board here for the fun of it…

What if, just what if, this was a honeytrap? What if the mistress is like the brother and a Trump supporter? What if this was all a trap to get Bezos to back off by AMI and others using this woman wittingly or unwittingly? I mean, it is possible isn’t it? I am not saying it is likely but I am just gonna put that out there for you all. If I were looking to damage an adversary (perceived) like Bezos I might just hire hookers and get the good on him in a hotel that’s been wired, of course it would have to be a situation that Bezos doesn’t have a TSCM team sweeping rooms before he stays in them and such but yeah, that would be one way. Another might be to leverage someone in the orbit or put someone in the orbit who he can be enticed by and get the goods on him that way…

Ya know… like what we are seeing play out here right? This is exactly the sleazy way that espionage is carried out on the nation state level (blackmail) as it is on the AMI level of play. So this is not an impossibility. Is it likely in this case? Well, what do we know about Sanchez anyway? I guess a deeper look into her and her brother might be in order and is likely being done by the likes of the FBI right about now.

Giggity.

But yeah, with all the hyperventilation going on in the media, this is a possibility and I cannot just wipe this away as a not a thing.

Time will tell.

Forensics or GTFO!

Finally, I would like to once again yell at the media FORENSICS OR GET THE FUCK OUT! I would like to see some evidence that points to nation state hacking or intercepts of Bezos and the mistresses accounts or phones. Will we ever see this data? Well, who the hell knows really but it won’t stop me from yelling this out every time the media breathlessly makes claims that exotic espionage has been carried out on alleged hard targets who use Android phones!

STAAAAAAHHHHP

I eagerly await some evidence in this case but I don’t really expect any. I will keep an eye on it all but at the end of the day I just wanted to put this out there. It is not super secret nation state shit level stuff going on here. It may in fact be leveraged by MBS and his people but it is not something along the lines of them using SS-7 on Bezos and his mistress right?

Right?

Oh right, need forensics for that…

Derp.

K.

Written by Krypt3ia

2019/02/10 at 14:53

Reality: Spearphishing Campaigns and Election Systems

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So Bloomberg has a story out today concerning allegations that the hack on the election was larger than first admitted to by authorities and the leak of a document by Reality Winner. This of course started the Twitterati to start making noises and got me to thinking about the whole thing. People have been asking about whether or not the hack was successful and to what end would the hacks be if they were successful or not. I myself have held the idea that the success or failure of the hacks isn’t as important as the notion that the systems had been tainted by hacking or manipulation. As you all may remember there were news stories of how the hackers attacked the systems before the elections before Reality dropped her document on the Intercept and then promptly went to jail for her stellarly bad OPSEC. Those stories seem to have been largely forgotten by the general populace but not so much with the IC given the snips of the document given to the Intercept. The snips show how the adversaries used common phishing exploits to “spearphish” the users at particular companies in a credential harvesting operation. Once I really took a close look at these though I began to question some things and thought maybe you all should too.

Why doesn’t the NSA know whether or not the attacks were successful?

So yeah, why doesn’t the NSA know whether or not things worked for the adversaries attacking these systems? Were there no forensics? Were the NSA not allowed to see anything? One begins to wonder why all this is in the report marked TS and such. Of course something in the markings also says “To US” so would this imply that the data came from FIVEEYE to the us? Once you begin to ponder all these things you start down the dark path of the game of shadows and we don’t need that. All of this said though, once again, the document here is showing only that they know attacks happened but they have no evidence of the attacks working and to what extent.

Why is that?

Where are the C2’s and other IOC’s?

Given that we don’t have the information on whether or not these attacks worked, then I guess it is a foregone conclusion to ask for, ya know, evidence right? Well I am gonna ask anyway, where is the evidence of the attacks other than the email address given in the report? No C2’s no infrastructures outlined. Are they in another compartment somewhere? In fact Reality had made mention of another document in her jailhouse tapes so are these bits in there? Without these one cannot conclude much of anything as to the adversary we are dealing with. After all, you all in the business know that these kinds of phishing attacks are quite common. How many of you blue team folks who read me have seen these same kinds of Google Drive/WP/PHP sites that harvest creds then pass you to the site you wanted?

This is not advanced

This is not uncommon

This is not a lock on any adversary in particular

Yet here they are saying it was the GRU… Why? What other evidence do they have? HUMINT? SIGINT? None of this is mentioned in what we have been given by the Intercept.

Why is this all marked TS if there is no real sources and methods here to burn?

Back to the whole TS/FVEY/ORCON alphabet soup, why is this being held so closely? Now, I have my own particular bent here that I have written about in the past which goes something like this;

  • We don’t want to admit the hacks happened because if we did it would cast doubt on the election
  • If we admit they happened people will doubt the system and it will erode the democracy
  • If we admit they happened AND they actually got in and they manipulated the system… Well… HOLY SHIT there’s goes the election system and the democracy
  • If we admit it happened and it worked then how much trust would there be in the government anymore?

In fact in articles circulating today, and I think it was in the Bloomberg piece, the case was made by President Obama that they would not want to admit to a hack for these very reasons…

So, there is that huh? If the scope of the hack is proven then it will in fact have the effects above and it would give Putin the satisfaction that his goals of active measures are still bearing him smelly fruit. I can then see them wanting to keep all of this stuff super secret couldn’t you? I guess Reality, though an idiot, perhaps had the same feeling and decided to do this in some warped view on trying to get rid of the current president. Another reason may be, and this is a tenuous one, that all of this is now part of the investigation into Russian meddling that the Congress is carrying out. I doubt that is the reason though. I really think it is just the IC being the IC and that the government has a reason to keep this all secret because it would erode things further where the government and our system of elections are concerned.

GRU or Patriot Hackers? (A Team versus B Team)

Alrighty, now we get on to the whole whodunnit thing. The documents sure do say that it is the GRU but like I said they don’t give you enough proof to do anything in a court of law for sure. While I was pondering this I had a flash on what Pooty said recently about “patriot hackers” and how the NSA document here alludes to klunky attacks. Like I said above, these phishing exploits are not uncommon. I see these every god damned day so it is really a measure of how well they were put together and whether or not escalation and pivoting happened to show another kind of actor here. Oh, and yeah, that information is conveniently not in the report here and once again, the NSA does not know if the attacks succeeded.

Think about that.

Then they go on to say it was Russia.

Ok, so maybe, just maybe it was Russia but it was the patriotic hacker B team eh? What if Pooty was telling a truth there and we all just scoffed and moved on? Given what the documents say I can see that maybe some talented amateurs or a B team decided to carry out a moonlighting operation to amplify things. Hey crazier things have happened right? What I am saying is open your minds to the idea that this was not the GRU but other actors like cyber patriots who may have gotten in but then failed to really do damage to the systems.

Maybe.

Without ya know like evidence though… Meep Meep.

Conclusion:

Welp, the cat is out of the bag NSA. It’s time to fess up. I think you and the government need to start producing evidence, forensic evidence, or GTFO. If the election data was hacked and manipulated then let us all know and then FUCKING FIX THE SYSTEMS AND MAKE THEM CRITICAL FUCKING INFRASTRUCTURE!

Dr. K.

Written by Krypt3ia

2017/06/13 at 16:31

Vault 7

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See Robert Redford at the top of the page? He’s playing a character who was an intelligence analyst who read books for the CIA. He came back from getting lunch for his co-workers and found them all dead, killed by a rogue CIA operation that hired an outside freelance assassin to kill them all and cover up rogue operations. This is fiction, and YOU are not him. So please everyone just calm the fuck down about the Wikileaks Vault7 dump ok?

RIGHT! Well Wikileaks has done it again and released a dump of CIA exploits this time around. There are quite a few little gems in there and the hue and cry by the genpop has been idiotic as usual. My personal favorite was the epic fuckery around how the New York Times chose to say that some of the exploits “bypassed” the encryption of programs like Signal which sent many an INFOSEC twitter account into a tizzy over “OMG IT ISN’T A BYPASS!” which, by the way, FUCKING CUT THAT SHIT OUT YOU SELF IMPORTANT FUCKWITS! The point of the statement is true, if the software in the Vault7 dump is used on someone’s phone then the CIA is BYPASSING the encryption altogether. For that matter they are bypassing the application altogether! So stop with the self important I AM A GOD DAMNED IMPORTANT PENTESTER AND THE SEMANTICS OF THE HERE ARTICLE ARE WRONG ERMEGERD!

Just stop.

The point of it all is that these tools, if used against you (until they are mitigated by patching and fixes to OS’) will make any precautions you take on those devices moot ok? Arguing over the semantics of it all is just fucking stupid posturing and if you expect the average person to understand what you are saying, then you are delusional ok? Oh, and if you think that the average person is the target of these attacks, yep, you once again are delusional. Specifically, if you are a US person CONUS and you are just the average Joe the plummer, you are NOT the target of the CIA.

Sorry.. I know it hurts your self image but it’s fucking true.

Get over yourselves.

Ok, so that rant is over, now let’s move on to other things about this dump. There’s a lot of techical stuff that will make the wonks masturbate for quite a long time and that’s to be expected. However, I would like to talk about a few other side loaded things happening that you should think about. First off, let’s talk about the dump itself and who dumped it. It seems from what I am seeing Assange saying, is that the dump was given to Wikileaks by an insider who wanted to open up discussion over the pervasive nature of these kinds of exploits against common and deeply penetrated systems in our collective lives. By this I mean cell phones, TV’s and other IOT devices. Now most of the stuff in the dump looks to be from 2012 up to nearly 2016 so it is older in respect to 0day and hacking exploits in many ways. Since they were secret though and they took a lot of time to make sure there were bypasses as well as ways to hide their presence, the CIA’s stuff is still old from a certain standpoint. Within the community one has to offer up the idea that not everything stays secret and those services that cover assets that the CIA might want to bug also have people who spend their time looking for such software right? What I am saying is who knows what has been working well and undetected and what has been detected by a foreign power and counteracted or allowed to use as a means of disinformation. Take that into consideration when you read the dump. Sure the common man here in the world may not know about this stuff and it will blow their minds but in the IC maybe not ok?

Now let’s consider how long this data has been in the hands of Wikileaks and who may have had it before. This stuff may have been in the community at large for a long time. The CIA may have shared this tech with FIVE EYES in some cases but if you look at the headers much of it was NOFORN (No Foreign Persons) so let’s just assume it was inside Langley. If the data was common there, when did it get leaked originally? Who had it in the interim? This goes back to the paragraph above too. If the exploits were working, now we have to wonder if they were being fed bad data by them from an aware adversary (this will play a key fact in the дезинформация part of this post later) given when we think the data was stolen and leaked. The fact of the matter is this, brass tacks I don’t believe a word Assange says from his balcony at Hacienda Ecuador and my money is that this was not leaked by a CIA employee just because they had a change of heart. I personally believe that whoever leaked it is an asset of a foreign power and that power just might be Russia.

Which brings me to the issue of the quick disinformation spin up by what looks to be Russian trolls and bots on Twitter and elsewhere over this last dump. The narratives that are starting to spin up are aiming this data directly at Democrats (including Hillary) and are aimed to cause more friction within the country and our politics. Gee, who lately has been doing that I wonder? The Daily Beast had a good report on this and I agree with Rob that this has spun up way too quickly and too much cohesion to allow for it not to have been in the pipeline before the dump. My meaning is that as we have seen in the recent past with the hack on the DNC and active measures on our electoral system, the Russians have a useful idiot in Assange and the Wikileaks organization. Assange has been another lackey of Putin like Trump and in fact it is quite possible that the leaked data came from Russia by way of an asset inside the CIA. Which then makes the inevitability of a Russian mole hunt at Langley a very large possibility. I bet the polygraphers are all warming up their electrodes as I write this in Virginia.

So, while all you INFOSEC nerds wank off to the sploits just remember these salient points.

  • There’s a bigger more subtle game going on here
  • YOU are not that important so just take this stuff and work on how to fix it
  • Take a beat and remember YOU ARE NOT THAT IMPORTANT
  • The CIA is not charter to work within the USA these exploits were targeted at other countries. Just look at FINE DINING for case officers
  • Consider what exploits other countries have and are being used that you don’t know about
  • PENTESTERS ARE NOT FUCKING JAMES BOND. FOR FUCKS SAKE JAMES BOND IS NOT JAMES BOND!

Look at the bigger picture.

K.

Written by Krypt3ia

2017/03/08 at 13:48

The DNC Hack: SVR? KGB? GRU? Lone Hacker?

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191

Attribution Games:

I grow more and more weary of the attribution games being played in INFOSEC and the DNC hack is just another in a cavalcade of epic missing the point parades. Since the “scoop” given to WaPo by Crowdstrike, there has been a flurry of allegations, revelations, and throwing of attribution dice akin to a basement game of Magic The Gathering repleate with summoning!

“I summon the Russian GRU!”

“I summon the LONE ACTOR!”

“I summon the KGB!”

*slaps down cards on table* TAKE THAT!

The reality here is that there are more than a few games going on here. Think about it, Crowdstrike gets a media coup by selling this story to WaPo, who just happens to have been banned by the Orange Julius of our time, presidential candidate Donald Trump! WaPo jumps on this like a child on a fresh tit and runs with the attribution story and sets the world on fire for Donny boy with the release that the DNC not only was hacked but that his dirty laundry may be in the hands of Kommisar Putin!

“Whoa”

So, first let’s set aside the whole issue of marketing, which is akin for me, to choking on a hairball left from that chick in “Ringu” and move on to the veracity of the attribution as well as the real need to name and shame here. I for one can believe that the two nation state actors software and activities were found by Crowdstrike on the DNC systems. The fact that there are two disparate groups from the same nation state is interesting in itself. I guess they are not really talking to each other and given the state of affairs there in Russia I can see this as being a true accounting. However, I can also see my way to there being third, fourth, fith, sixtieth actors also in the network or having had been in the past as well. Face it, these are government systems who usually go to the lowest bidder right? This was likely the Diagon Alley of Democratic networks.

So, to say that it was only these two actors might be a stretch. There is room for doubt and after the dump by “Guccifer2” as they are calling themselves, it is easier to think that perhaps there is more to the story than what we have been given by the media, the DNC, and Crowdstrike. That the documents are legit on the wordpress site by Gucci and that they seem to be pretty well stamped down on metadata, one can’t make too many assumptions.. Oh, yeah, but everyone is! At the end of the day for me, even though I will play the game a little bit below the fold here, the real issues should be how the hackers did it, and fixing the behaviors of the DNC to stop it from happening for a year or two at a time in the future. Not so much pointing at Russia and yelling; “YOU TOOK OUR SHIT! BAD POOTY! BAD!”

Put another way… I eagerly await the FBI warrants and 10 most wanted cyber listings for the Russian actors they have all this attribution on … I suspect I will be waiting the rest of my life for that one kids… Just sayin. This was mostly about marketing as far as I am concerned and I have to give them props for working that one. Sales must be up in the government area now because of this caper right?

Metadata and Cyrillic:

Meanwhile, after the WaPo story hit the wires the “lone hacker” created his wordpress site and dropped dox as we say on the intertubes. Shortly after the drop people were inspecting, detecting, infecting, and making circles and arrows with captions on the back to describe what you were seeing! … And the conspiracy theory machine went into overdrive. Pwnallthethings made some good comments on the metadata in the dropped dox but really, concluding that this is a Russian disinformation operation from metadata stripped documents on the idea that the machine name was cyrillic for Felix Dzerzhinsky (Феликс Эдмундович)  Really? Now that is fucking SOLID work man! Stellar! FUCK LET’S GO BOMB RUSSIA NOW!

Dr._Strangelove

NAILED IT!

You know at least Crowdstrike has like actual data, ya know, C2’s, malware, and shit like that. Anything else is totally speculative, I mean even more speculative than most attribution that these companies make with real data! Anyway, I took a look at the metadata on the documents and here is what I have found…

  • Much of the data was stamped out in saving from format to format
  • Emails of users though were still embedded in the excel files
  • The word docs have no more metadata than the Iron Felix machine name save, which, gee, kinda leads one to wonder…
  • The image files have no metadata.. none.. niente clean.
  • Grizzli777 is just someone who pirates

Yep, not a lot to see there and people are hanging their collective hats on the deliberate placement of Феликс Эдмундович as the machine name to it’s quite OBVIOUSLY being Mother Russia’s exclusive secret services.

*squint.. takes drag of cigarette*

So here’s my assessment…. Maybe Russia did it… OR Maybe this actor is the real thing and happens to want to take credit. The facts that this person(s) reads, writes, has, cyrillic on their machine and names it after the founder of the KGB is as reliable a means to saying it was Russia as it is to say that aliens built the pyramid because people just were fucking too stupid back then!

All of this hoo ha really means nothing. The fact of the matter is that now Donny’s dirty dirt is open source!

YAAAAY!

Wait.. I read it.. What the shit people? REALLY? THAT’S ALL YOU HAD HILLARY? COME ON!

It doesn’t matter who did it really.. Horse is out of the barn and the barn is on fire kids. So please, stop with all the wankery and move on to the next hack ok?

DATA:

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 13:35:04

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 13:33:43

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 13:31:49

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 12:51:57

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 12:46:55

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 12:46:44

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 12:46:33

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 12:46:14

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 12:46:03

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 12:45:43

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 12:44:48

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 09:51:34

Motivation Analysis and Hypothesis

RIGHT! Well now I want to play the attribution/motivation/game of clue too! So here goes…

Imagine if you will that Russia did do it. Imagine also that Gucci2 is still Russia’s services performing a disinfo campain against Crowdstrike. Now imagine why would they be doing that? Why would they drop Donny’s dox AND all the other fun stuff for the Clinton campaign, which is in trouble already over the cybers! What effects would this have? Let’s list it out for you…

  • Dropped dox of the dirt —-> Blows all Hill had on him unless there is a double secret probation file somewhere
  • Dropped dox yet to be releast on Wikileaks —> Let’s say, as Gucci2 alluded, they were also in Hill’s mail server, ya know, the one that wasn’t supposed to be? Oh yeah…
    • If that server was popped by the Russians and Gucci1 those criminal charges could be much more deleterious right? *waves at FBI*
  • Dropping of dox and general hackery causes DNC and the election process to be even more fractious than it already is
  • Dropping dox makes Hill’s candidacy potentially weaker (hint hint server –> Russians–>PWN wink wink nudge nudge!

So all those effects would do what possibly? Why would they want to do this? WHO WOULD WANT A TRUMP PRESIDENCY?????

Why Pooty of course!

Think about it kids. Given your knowledge of Teeny Tiny Baby Hands Trump, do you think he could stand up to a bearish Putin?  *sorry had to use that one*  Do you think that perhaps Donald is easily.. Shall we say.. Distracted or led? Come on, I know you can all reason this out. A Trump presidency would be sweet sweet love for Putin. He would have a friend, and someone he can sit on his knee to play ventriloquist with! … Well, until he has to polonium enema him that is.

That’s my theory and I am sticking with it… For all the fucks that it is worth.

I will say though.. I am waiting on those documents to show up in Wikileaks. That’s when the shit is really gonna hit the fan.

See you all in INFOSEC attribution Hell.

K.

 

Written by Krypt3ia

2016/06/17 at 18:34

The Rise of The Middle Eastern Patriot Hacker

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Screenshot from 2016-06-02 13:56:48

A news story posted today got my attention if for nothing else than the lulz. The post was about how a team of Saudi hackers had popped and defaced a bunch of Iranian sites and how in return the Iranian authorities had tapped INTERPOL to clap the irons on those cyber terrorists! Now, usually I am not so much interested in these types of defacements being that they are just tit for tat political posturing by derpy kids online but this reminded me of China in the 90’s so here I am.

That’s right, you read me right there, China, remember the Green Army? Remember all those posts I did back in the day about the patriot hackers there? Well, now we have the same kind of thing happening in the Kingdom of Saud and since I am a bit of an Arabist, I thought it interesting enough to pontificate on here. Hell, I might even thought lead here! Well, ugh, no, I will not thought lead, there is jut no coming back from that. Anyway, back to the matter at hand.

Screenshot from 2016-06-02 14:02:13

The “team” in question is the new-ish group calling themselves “Team Bad Dream” and ermegerd they are as derpy as they come. When you start to pull at the threads of their digital tangled skein you quickly come to some real profiles and real names. I will not post them here because I don’t want the Iranians whacking anyone and I certainly don’t want INTERPOL on them just yet. Suffice to say, guys, ummm, you may want to pay attention to your old nicks and re-use. Oh, and don’t forget to not use your SKYPE addresses and shit like that that you have not created good backstops and cutouts for!

Screenshot from 2016-06-02 13:50:05 Screenshot from 2016-06-02 13:49:39 Screenshot from 2016-06-02 11:39:49 Screenshot from 2016-06-02 11:35:26

*Oh, maybe that was a little OPSEC/INTEL slip I just pulled there huh? Oops*

Anywho… Aside from the derpy defacements that really mean nothing in the scheme of things as hot “cyber” wars go, there is this notion of a shift in politics/warfare/statecraft that I just have to mention. It is claimed that the KSA government has been supporting these guys in their defacement spree and if this is the case, then it’s a bit of a different kettle of fish no? It is one thing to have a bunch of guys who just do this shit for giggles but these guys are now hitting Iran, the mortal enemy of Saudi with *gasp* DEFACEMENTS!

Ok, ok, ok, you all probably have the same opinion that I do about defacements:

Screenshot from 2016-06-02 14:22:16

That XKCD pretty much sums it up for me. However, you are now dealing with the governments of two rather shall we say touchy countries. Just look at the rhetoric between the two to see. In fact, hell, just look at the rhetoric and crazy that comes out of Iran on a regular basis and you might see where I am going here. I can imagine here an all out, full scale, cyber defacement war soon enough. However, what if that also turns into a full on “cyber” war between the two now too? What if they really start hacking the shit out of each other’s infrastructure?

What if they start stuxnet-ing all the things! My god man.. it will be 9/11 x 1000

index

Ok on a more serious note though. This may in fact be the start of something bigger and we could be seeing more hacking and net-centric warfare between these players in the near future. I eagerly await the next salvo with popcorn in hand and a nice big scotch. Everyone get comfortable because soon there will be attribution marketing and cutesy pseudo Arabic code names for all the actors!

K.

 

Written by Krypt3ia

2016/06/02 at 18:35

Did China Just Bill Clinton Us on OPM?

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Clintond

 

In an article posted today from the Chinese State News service Xinhua the official ruling on the OPM hack has been determined to have been carried out by a group of “criminal hackers” not at the behest of the Chinese government. As such they say, the hack was not an official act of cyber war but instead a criminal act according to current laws on cyber warfare.

Dude, we just got Bill Clinton’d on one of the largest hacks to date on governmental databases! Let’s parse this out a bit and then move on to another story that was also posted today. That story; “Congress wants to know how OPM hack could hurt U.S. spies” asks one of the most idiotic questions I for one can think of as someone who’s data was stolen by a foreign power who is now saying in effect; “We have your data, but hey, it was a criminal act. We didn’t ask them to do it but thanks for the files!” 

Thanks China! Don’t mind you holding that data for me since I think that the OPM and the DHS aren’t really capable even with their neato NCATS cyber hygiene service! Say… Did I mention I found all your FOUO documents on your super neato hacker hygiene program being leaked by your own servers? YAY!

Asshats.

But I digress… Ok so back to the first story. I believe that in the past I have written about the coming cyber wars in context of how incredibly hard it will be to prosecute not only the war, but also the defense as well as the, well, prosecution, of anyone we think carried out actions against us. Here we have a classic example of how this will all work with the, well lets call it from hereon the “Clinton Defense” for lack of a better moniker.

China was pretty smart to play it this way because not only does it sort of absolve them but it also gives them a chance to now leak that data to the darknet let’s say and lend credence to the idea that criminal gangs stole the data and are now trying to profit from it. Once the cat is out of the bag the cat pretty much is useless right? Well no, in fact they have their copy of the data and I am sure the MSS and more so the PLA have farmed all that data out to their intelligence customers for further exploitation.

China wins.

This is probably a scenario that certain analysts already thought might come to play since we kind of already pointed the finger at China anyway. It also may have been a foregone conclusion given the futile naming of names and placing them on wanted lists that the DOJ put out this year. If you think we will ever get hold of those Chinese PLA assets you are just deluding yourself. From now on I can see how China and now other nations will just blame non state actors for the hacks against any assets just like some mother scolding a bad child for thievery out of the cookie jar. All the while the players will not be charged with anything and perhaps never even be known because the government will cover their identities.

Do you see where this is all going? What a slippery slope this is? All the while we keep focusing on attack and not on defense. Yeah, that will win the day for us for sure. I am so tired of all the bullshit. Even if you can DFIR and OSINT the shit out of things all one has to do is “officially” blame another actor and the game is over. There won’t be any trials and the data is still in the hands of the adversary, once again, because WE FAILED TO HAVE THAT CYBER HYGIENE!!

Fuckery.

Meanwhile the congress seems to be overtaxing their small minds trying to understand how the data that was stolen (SF86’s and the kitchen sink at OPM) could affect those in the clandestine service. Seriously? Are you fucking kidding me? You don’t understand how China having not only access to where someone worked and works, but also all their personal histories, clearance levels, friends information, psych status, fucking everything to create a super dossier on them could affect a clandestine agent? Tell me something congressman… Are you an idiot?

I would like the congress to understand even more deeply about the hack on OPM. It is more than just the data that they stole. It is also about how long they had access to the internals at OPM and then the networks that the OPM network touch. For instance, did you know that the server the data was being held in partially sat in the DOI?

NO I AM NOT KIDDING

The Department of the Interior is a place I know rather well because I worked for the DOJ on a case against them back in the day. I had to look at their networks and boy oh boy, what a fucking mess. Would it also surprise you to know congressman that the DOI network has classified network connections as well? Did you know for example that when I was poking about I saw NRO shit as well? Think about that and let it rattle around your empty heads a bit. Ask yourself and then ask OPM and DHS what other networks the Chinese may have had access to for about a year?

HEAD. SPLODE.

I dunno, it seems like every day I just want to crawl into the woods and build my 6×6 shack and wait for the apocalypse to come far away from the asshattery that will undoubtedly occur. Fuck the whole iot bullshit with fridges and toasters exploding from grid hacks by Ted Koppel. I just want out because we as a species are just incapable of handling this shit appropriately. I eagerly await the end where the AI finally takes over and decides to liquefy us all to feed to one another to be used as batteries for the Matrix.

Let’s get this over with already.

K.

Written by Krypt3ia

2015/12/02 at 18:19

Posted in China, CyberWar, Hacking

ASSESSMENT: TEAM JM511

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Screenshot from 2014-03-14 10:04:48

JM511 Hacking since at least 2004:

There is a typical history to certain types of hackers and this genesis usually embodies first defacing sites and gloating about it online. Since the advent of pastebin and Anonymous things have changed a bit by dumping DOX or proof of hacks while gloating. JM511 has been one of these hackers who started around 2004 (by his own account as seen in the picture below) defacing sites and shouting out gr33tz to those he wanted to share his conquests with. Often times the tenor of JM511 has been “neener neener neener you stupid idiots!” which is pretty common and bespeaks a certain core need to feel superior to anyone and everyone coupled with poor impulse control. Of course in today’s world there are so many outlets to garner fame and fortune for your exploits like Twitter where JM511 has a long lived twitter feed where he posted his thoughts on hacking, politics, Islam, and generally used it as a platform for self aggrandizement.

Screenshot from 2014-03-14 10:31:54

To date JM511 has been pretty prolific and for the most part an afterthought by most for his acts against poorly protected sites. However, he has recently taken on a new aspect with recent posts that dumped credit cards and email addresses as well as other PII that some out there certainly should care about. Law enforcement at the least should be paying attention to large dumps of credit cards and PII as well as watching these guys who profess their ties (albeit tenuously at first) to AQ. I personally got him on my radar by a tip from a comrade who thought it might be a fun diversion for me to look into Mr. 511.. That tipster was right and I tip my hat to you sir.

JM511 Today:

JM511 has been a busy busy boy. A recent post by him on pastebin was what triggered all of this from the angle of Islamic hackers who may be in fact carding on the nets. The posting below is the cause for my looksee and as you can see he is taking pleasure in dumping people’s credit details and names on pastebin with impunity. JM511 has a whole long list of pastes out there showing his knowledge of XSS to SQLi and other attacks whilst mocking those he has ripped off or otherwise shamed in some way. Of course now he called his crew “Islam Hackers” and seems to have the aforementioned aegis towards opposing those who would oppose Islam. In fact he was one of the many voices on twitter back last April saying tha Dzokhar was not guilty of his crimes (bombing the Boston Marathon) and that Islam is a religion of peace. Odd that he says such things as he then turns around and starts abusing people online…

Screenshot from 2014-03-14 11:47:34

Screenshot from 2014-03-14 11:31:31 Screenshot from 2014-03-14 11:31:16

JM511 aka   فيصل البقعاوي aka Faisal Bakaawi aka Faisal Faisal Al Otaibi:

JM511 thought he had it all figured out though. His reign has been long and no one seems to have caught onto him to date.. That is until now. Through a circuitous use of Maltego, Google, and the frontal lobes of my brain I managed to trace JM511 through his SPECTACULAR OPSEC FAIL to his real name and his location. As JM511 aka Faisal Bakaawi or Faisal Al Otaibi claims that he is in and from Saudi Arabia I am sure he thought he could not be tracked. Well, he would be incorrect there because he forgot to compartmentalize his real life with his ID’s. Faisal failed to not re-use ID’s for non hacking things like say posting an ad for housing in Dekalb Illinois recently.

Screenshot from 2014-03-14 10:58:40It seems that Faisal is attending ESL (language school) in Dekalb and used his Yahoo account (jxffh@yahoo.com) which he tied to his Skype account FoFox511x which he also kindly attached to his cell phone (443-820-8939 Baltimore number btw) and he wanted a move in date of 11/5/2013 so I am going to assume that he has found lodgings by now there in Dekalb. Some might say to me “why did you post his details on the net! Shame on you!” well, I subscribe to the idea t hat turnabout is indeed fair play and all of this data is open source and public so it has an added giggle factor for schadenfreude.

UPDATE: While researching this it became clear that the name Faisal Otaibi also comes to bear in posts and videos by JM511. Further study showed direct links to Faisal Otaibi also being a Dekalb resident attending school (see pic below) I believe that Faisal either has a pal there with him also named Faisal or, more likely, they are one in the same and Faisal has just been trying to obfuscate his name. Either way, it is my conviction that Faisal Otaibi/Bakawai is indeed JM511. It is also key to note that a Faisal Otaibi is also listed as an ethical hacker who also attended last years hacker conference in Germany…. Oh and one more thing, ELS, the school is located on NIU’s campus.

Screenshot from 2014-03-14 17:12:44

Screenshot from 2014-03-14 11:36:25

Screenshot from 2014-03-14 10:30:07

Screenshot from 2014-03-14 10:48:32Screenshot from 2014-03-14 12:32:12

So, Faisal, thanks for playing but you lose. Please collect your silver bracelets at the door because LE has been informed of these details coming to light and you should be visited hopefully soon. I do love the irony of the selfies you took showing how you used those people’s credit cards to purchase domains on your Twitter feed though. I mean usually it’s some unsuspecting idiot showing off their new credit card and not understanding OPSEC. Of course in this case it’s  you and someone else’s money that will get you some jail time I suspect.

ASSESSMENT:

My analysis of this interesting side trip to my day is this; OPSEC, USE IT or FAIL miserably. Faisal, you failed and I eagerly await the news of your being popped for your crimes. Let it be an object lesson for others out there who may look up to such fools. You may hack for a while, you may have your fun at the expense of others but eventually you will make a mistake and get caught. It’s just your human nature and the law of averages that will get you in the end. Run! Scurry! Someone’s coming to see you.

K.

Written by Krypt3ia

2014/03/14 at 16:32

ASSESSMENT: Tesco.com Hack and Account Drop

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Screenshot from 2014-02-17 08:56:17

TESCO Dump:

Screenshot from 2014-02-17 09:04:27

Two thousand accounts and passwords to Tesco.com’s site were dumped on Pastebin 2/12/14 and it set the news all a twitter about how Tesco had been hacked. The accounts and passwords have all been deactivated and changed according to Tesco and if they had it their way I am sure they’d just like to move on. However, the news on the hack has as yet been unclear as to how it happened. In looking around the usual dirty corners of the internet I have found a few details about how common it seems companies like Tesco have been the target of these kinds of attacks. I found trails of chatter going back to August of last year talking about how to go about abusing the Tesco online system to order goods and have them delivered in many places as well as offers by coders for scripts and programs to carry out the attack that seems to have befallen Tesco.

Tesco_Checker.exe and Freelancers:

Screenshot from 2014-02-17 09:45:45

Screenshot from 2014-02-17 09:03:45

One of the first hits that I located was talk of a “Tesco Account Checker” program back in October of last year. I was unable (as yet) to locate the live download of the program but above you can see a screen shot of one of the common file sharing sites where it was hosted back then. This program allegedly checks the site by imputing user ID’s (emails) and passwords which it will check for a (200) on the site and output a report much like what was uploaded to Pastebin recently. In fact there are many offerings out there for these kinds of scripts and programs that will work on many sites and some of them have a brute force element as well. It has yet to be determined though if the Tesco event was an actual hack on their systems with something like these programs or if the Pastebin dump was just a shot over the bow from data gathered and tested with a new tool. Of course Tesco was also not very strong on their security for their passwords or their practices here with six character non complex passwords and a tendency to send pass resets in email clear text. These factors may also have been at play in this dump of the two thousand accounts actually occurring but it still doesn’t elucidate on why someone would just dump them there and not just use them.

Carding Forums:

 

Screenshot from 2014-02-17 09:07:05

Screenshot from 2014-02-17 09:07:23

Tied to the scripts and programs being created for the purpose of checking accounts at Tesco and other places, the carding forums make their appearance selling the data culled as well as giving short tutorials on how to check balances and such. As seen above there are at least two different groups of carders involved in this incident (v3ch4j.cc as well as tuxedocrew.biz) so it seems that perhaps it may have been more than 2k accounts compromised and may in fact be being sold on their closed markets today. It does seem though that these guys are in it for the purchase of goods then having them shipped as Tesco is an online super market. There are posts asking how to get food sent and how to scam the site to get that food so it seems that this has been going on for some time now. Tesco users may want to check into their accounts for small charges that may have gone unnoticed as well as Tesco themselves should be looking at a full scale DFIR on their systems to see just what has happened here.

ANALYSIS:

Screenshot from 2014-02-17 09:07:41

The overall analysis here is that Tesco was using insecure processes to generate passwords as well as reset them for people (in the clear in email) as well as perhaps had been under attack for some time (since last summer really) by these attackers. Probes of their site should have been noticed and one would hope that Tesco would have some sort of intelligence gathering to tell them when these types of campaigns are being created. My Googling only took about 15 minutes and I had a plethora of data on who was talking about this script as well as methods to cheat Tesco out of goods online. The upshot here is these guys weren’t really hiding very well and this stuff should be monitored. If they had been paying attention though they might have noticed Moad Abo Al Sheakh (G+ above) who posted a tutorial on using the Tesco account checking tool on his blog under the title “no secret her” and aside from his poor typing/spelling skills, lays it out pretty plainly. Overall this isn’t a Target attack on the scale of interesting but it does show just how poorly some places treat security as a primary goal only to get popped and dumped on Pastebin.

K.

Written by Krypt3ia

2014/02/17 at 15:26

Posted in ASSESSMENT, Hacking

So here’s my thing….

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dark_of_night_OURO

VQX HWMVCUSE JQJFASSNTG QV! X HQ JD ISIAVVE!

Face it.. We are all PWND six ways to Sunday

Every frigging day we hear more and more about how the NSA has been emptying our lives of privacy and subverting the laws of this land and others with their machinations. It’s true, and I have been saying as much since the day Mr. Klein came out of his telco closet and talked about how the NARUS system had been plugged into the MAE West back in the day. We are all well and truly fucked if we want any kind of privacy today kids and we all need to just sit back and think about that.

*ponder ponder ponder*

Ok, I have thought about it and I have tried to think of any way to protect myself from the encroachment of the NSA and all the big and little sisters out there. I am absolutely flummoxed to come up with any cogent means to really and truly protect my communications. Short of having access to the NSA supercloud and some cryptographers I don’t think that we will not truly have any privacy anymore. If you place it on the net, or in the air. We have reached in my opinion the very real possibility of the N-Dystopia I have talked about before in the Great Cyber Game post.

As the pundits like Schneier and others groan on and on about how the NSA is doing all of this to us all I have increasingly felt  the 5 stages of grief. I had the disbelief (ok not completely as you all know but the scope was incredible at each revelation) Then the anger came and washed over me, waves and waves of it as I saw the breadth and scope of the abuse. Soon though that anger went away and I was then feeling the bargaining phase begin. I started to bargain in my head with ideas that I could in fact create my own privacy with crypto and other OPSEC means. I thought I could just deny the government the data. I soon though began to understand that no matter what I did with the tools out there that it was likely they had already been back door’d. This came to be more than the case once the stories came out around how the NSA had been pressuring all kinds of tech companies to weaken standards or even build full back doors into their products under the guise of “National Security”

Over time the revelations have all lead to the inescapable truth that there is nothing really anyone can do to stop the nation state from mining our communications on a technological level. Once that had fully set in my mind the depression kicked in. Of late I have been more quiet online and more depressed about our current state as well as our future state with regard to surveillance and the cyberwarz. I came to the conclusion that no matter the railing and screaming I might do it would mean nothing to the rapidly approaching cyberpocalypse of our own creation arriving. ….In short, we can’t stop it and thus the last of the five stages for me has set in. I accept that there is nothing I can do, nay, nothing “we” can do to stop this short of a bloody coup on the government at large.

I now luxuriate in my apathy and were I to really care any more I would lose my fucking mind.

OPSEC! OPSEC! OPSEC!

Speaking of losing one’s mind.. Lately people all have been yelling that OPSEC is the only way! One (the gruqq) has been touting this and all kinds of counterintelligence as the panacea for the masses on these issues. Well, why? Why should we all have to be spies to just have a little privacy in our lives huh? I mean it’s one thing to be a shithead and just share every fucking stupid idea you have on FriendFace and Tweeter but really, if you can’t shut yourself up that is your problem right? No, I speak of the every day email to your mom telling her about your health status or maybe your decision to come out etc. Why should the government have the eminent domain digitally to look at all that shit now or later?

If you take measures to protect these transactions and those measures are already compromised by the government why then should you even attempt to protect them with overburdened measures such as OPSEC huh? I mean, really if you are that worried about that shit then go talk to someone personally huh? I know, quite the defeatist attitude I have there huh? The reality is that even though I claim not to be caring about it (re: apathy above) I actually do but I realize that we no longer have privacy even if we try to create it for ourselves with technical means. If the gov wants to see your shit they will make a way to do so without your knowing about it. I fully expect someday that they will just claim eminent domain over the internet completely.

Fuck OPSEC.. I want my government to do the right thing and not try to hide all their skirting of the law by making it classified and sending me an NSL that threatens to put me in jail for breaking the law.

Fuck this shit.

CYBERWARZ

Then we have the CYBERWARZ!! Oh yeah, the gubment, the military, and the private sector all have the CYBERWARZ fever. I cannot tell you how sick of that bullshit I am really. I am tired of all the hype and misdirection. Let me clear this up for you all right here and right now. THERE IS NO CYBERWAR! There is only snake oil and espionage. UNTIL such time as there is a full out kinetic war going on where systems have been destroyed or compromised just before tanks roll in or nukes hit us there is no cyberwar to speak of. There is only TALK OF cyber war.. Well more like masturbatory fantasies by the likes of Beitlich et al in reality. So back the fuck off of this shit mmkay? We do not live in the world of William Gibson and NO you are not Johnny Mnemonic ok!

Sick. And. Tired.

I really feel like that Shatner skit where he tells the Trekkies to get a life…

Awaiting the DERPOCALYPSE

All that is left for us all now is the DERPOCALYPSE. This is the end state of INFOSEC to me. We are all going to be co-opted into the cyberwarz and the privacy wars and none of us have a snowball’s chance in hell of doing anything productive with our lives. Some of us are breaking things because we love it. Others are trying to protect “ALL THE THINGS” from the breakers and the people who take their ideas and technologies and begin breaking all those things. It’s a vicious cycle of derp that really has no end. It’s an ouroboros of fail.

RAGE! RAGE! AGAINST THE DYING OF THE PRIVACY! is a nice sentiment but in reality we have no way to completely stop the juggernaut of the NSA and the government kids. We are all just pawns in a larger geopolitical game and we have to accept this. If we choose not to, and many have, then I suggest you gird your loins for the inevitable kick in the balls that you will receive from the government eventually. The same applies for all those companies out there aiding the government in their quest for the panopticon or the cyberwarz. Money talks and there is so much of it in this industry now that there is little to stop it’s abuse as well.

We are well and truly fucked.

So, if you too are feeling burned out by all of this take heart gentle reader. All you need do is just not care anymore. Come, join me in the pool of acceptance. Would you care for a lotus blossom perhaps? It’s all good once you have accepted the truth that there is nothing you can do and that if you do things that might secure you then you are now more of a target. So, do nothing…

Derp.

K.

Book Review: An Introduction to Cyber-Warfare: A Multidisciplinary Approach

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cyberwarprimer

IJPFRH CPAGP EIIL!

CYBER CYBER CYBER!

CYBER CYBER CYBER! or “CRY HAVOC AND LET SLIP THE DIGITAL DOGS OD CYBER WAR!”” is often what you hear from me in a mocking tone as I scan the internet and the news for the usual cyber-douchery. Well this time kids I am actually going to review a book that for once was not full of douchery! Instead it was filled with mostly good information and aimed at people who are not necessarily versed at all in the cyberz. I personally was surprised to find myself thinking that I would approve this for a syllabus (as it has been placed into one by someone I know and asked me to read this and comment)

The book really is a primer on IW (Information Warfare) and Cyber-Warfare (for lack of a better nomenclature for it) which many of you reading my blog might be way below your desired literacy level on the subjects. However, for the novice I would happily recommend that they read the book and then spend more time using ALL of the footnotes to go and read even more on the subject to get a grasp of the complexities here. In fact, I would go as far as to say to all of you out there that IF you are teaching this subject at all then you SHOULD use this book as a starting point.

I would also like to say that I would LOVE to start a kickstarter and get this book into the hands of each and every moron in Congress and the House. I would sit there and MAKE them read it in front of me *surely watching their lips move as they do so* There are too many people in positions of power making stupid decisions about this stuff when they haven’t a single clue. I guess the same could be said about the military folks as well. We have plenty of generals who have no idea either.. That’s just one man’s opinion though.

As we move further and further down the cyber-war road I think that books like this should be mandatory reading for all military personnel as well as college level courses in not only IW/INFOSEC but also political and affairs of state majors as well. We will only continue down this road it seems and it would be best for us all if the next wave of digital natives had a real grasp of the technologies as well as the political, logical, and tactical aspects of “Cyber”

I have broken down the book into rough chapters and subject areas as it is within the book (mostly) It really does cover more of the overall issues of cyber-warfare and methods used (not overly technical) The modus operandi so to speak of the actual events that have taken place are laid out in the book and give you a picture of the evolving of IW to what we see today as “cyber-warfare” I will comment on those sections on what I thought was good and what I thought was derpy of course, I mean would you all have it any other way?

IW (INFORMATION WARFARE) RUSSIA

The authors cover early IW with the Russian saga’s over Georgia and Estonia. There is a lot in there that perhaps even you out there might not know about the specifics of the incidents where Russia is “alleged” to have attacked both countries at different times with different goals and effects. Much of this also touches on the ideas of proxy organizations that may or may not be state run that were a part of the action as well as a good overview of what happened.

In the case of Georgia it went kinetic and this is the first real “cyber-warfare” incident in my mind as cyber-war goes. I say this because in my mind unless there is an actual kinetic portion to the fighting there is no “war” it is instead an “action” or “espionage” so in the case of tanks rolling in on Georgia we have a warfare scenario outright that was in tandem with IW/CW actions.

OUR CHINESE OVERLORDS

Ah Chairman Meow… What book on Cyber would be complete without our friends at the MSS 3rd Directorate huh? Well in the case of this primer it gets it right. It gets across not only that China has been hacking the living shit out of us but also WHY they are doing it! The book gives a base of information (lots of footnotes and links) to ancillary documentation that will explain the nature of Chinese thought on warfare and more to the point Cyber-Warfare. The Chinese have been working this angle (The Thousand Grains of Sand etc) for a long time now and there are more than a few treatises on it for you to read after finishing this book.

The big cases are in there as well as mention of the malware used, goals of the attacks and some of the key players. If you are out to start teaching about Chinese electronic/cyber/IW then this is a good place to start. Not too heavy but it gets the point across to those who are not so up to speed on the politics, the tech, or the stratagems involved.

ANONYMOUS/SEA/LULZSEC

Anonymous, as someone on my Twitter feed was just asking me as I was writing this piece, is also a part of this picture as well. The idea of asymmetric online warfare is really embodied by these groups. The book focuses more on Lulzsec and their 50 days of sailing but it doesn’t go too in depth with the derp. Suffice to say that all of them are indeed important to cyber-warfare as we know it and may in fact be the end model for all cyber-warfare. How so? Well, how better to have plausible denyability than to get a non state group to carry out your dirty war? Hell, for that matter how about just blame them and make it look like one of their ops huh?

Oddly enough just days ago Hammond wrote a piece saying this very thing. He intoned that the FBI via Sabu were manipulating the Anon’s into going after government targets. This is not beyond comprehension especially for places like China as well. So this is something to pay attention to. However, this book really did not take that issue on and I really wished that they had. Perhaps in the next updated edition guys?

THE GRID

OY VEY, the “GRID” this is one of the most derpy subjects usually in the media as well as the books/talks/material on cyber-warfare out there. In this case though I will allow what they wrote stand as a “so so” because they make no real claim to an actual apocalypse. Instead the book talks about the possible scenarios of how one could attack the grid. This book makes no claim that it would work but it is something to think about especially if you have an army of trained squirrels with routers strapped to their backs.

It is my belief that the system is too complex to have a systematic fail of apocalypse proportions and it always has been so. If the book talked about maybe creating a series of EMP devices placed at strategic high volume transformers then I would say they’d be on to something. However, that said, the use of a topological attack model was a good one from a logical perspective. They base most of this off of the Chinese grad students paper back years ago so your mileage may vary. So on this chapter I give it a 40% derp.

WHAT’S MISSING?

All in all I would have liked to have seen more in the political area concerning different countries thought patterns on IW/CW but hey, what can ya do eh? Additionally I think more could have been done on the ideas of offense vs. defense. Today I see a lot of derp around how the US has a GREAT OFFENSIVE CAPABILITY! Which for me and many of you out there I assume, leads me to the logical thought conclusion of “GREAT! We are totally offensive but our defense SUCKS!” So much for CYBER-MAD huh?

I would have also like to have seen more in the way of some game theory involved in the book as well concerning cyber-warfare. Some thought experiments would be helpful to lay out the problems within actually carrying out cyber-war as well as potential outcomes from doing so more along the lines of what I saw in the Global Cyber-Game.

OVERALL TAKE

Well, in the end I think it is a good start point for people to use this in their syllabus for teaching IW/CW today. It is a primer though and I would love to see not only this end up on the list but also the Global Cyber Game as well to round out the ideas here. To me it is more about “should we do this?” as opposed to “LETS FUCKING DO THIS!” as the effects of doing so are not necessarily known. Much of this territory is new and all too much of it is hyped up to the point of utter nonsense. This is the biggest problem we have though, this nonsense level with regard to the leaders of the land not knowing anything about it and then voting on things.

We need a more informed populace as well as government and I think this book would be a good start. So to the person who asked me to review this..

Put it in the syllabus!

K.