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July 29, 2015 / 13 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘cyber’

New Worm Takes Down Iranian Nuke Plant, Plays Loud AC/DC

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

The website NTG reported that an Iranian nuclear scientist told a colleague in Finland about the newest cyber worm which has paralyzed Iran’s nuclear plants.

The Finish scientist, Mikko H. Hypponen, from Helsinki, the chief security research officer at F-Secure, an anti-virus software company, has quoted an email he received from the Iranian scientist, saying “Our nuclear program has once again been attacked by a new worm, which hit the computer systems in Nataz and Fordo.”

According to the scientist, the worm comes with some unusual side effects: the infected computers started to play at high volume the song Thunderstruck by the band AC/DC, in the middle of the night and without any prior warning.

Hypponen said he had no way of confirming the veracity of the story, but he knows for sure that the email has indeed been sent by a real scientist from the Iranian nuclear program.

Israel Goes Public With Cyberwar Program, Strengthens Nuclear Sub Fleet

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

JERUSALEM – Despite the absence of an attack on Iranian military and nuclear facilities, Israel and the U.S. are engaged in a covert cyberwar campaign against a growing list of Iranian targets. The dual objective is to hamper the Iranian regime’s ability to build an atomic bomb while pressuring them to bow to Western and UN demands to downgrade their enrichment capabilities to less than 10 percent.

For the first time, the White House and the IDF acknowledged that America and Israel have launched independent cyber attacks on enemy nations engaged in creating rogue conventional and unconventional warfare programs. The Obama administration implied last week that a special cyberwarfare unit inside the Pentagon and CIA was responsible for launching the debilitating Stuxnet cyber bomb against Iranian computers, which controlled the centrifuges used in the uranium-making process.

Though Israel has not acknowledged that its expanding IDF cyberwarfare unit was responsible for the sophisticated Flame virus, which invaded computers inside the Iranian defense establishment in order to extract top-secret military information, the IDF said on its website: “The IDF has been engaged in cyber activity in a consistent and relentless manner, thwarting and disrupting enemy projects” that have targeted the IDF and the Israeli government. A high-ranking CIA official told the London Daily Telegraph that the cyberwar campaigns were “a preferable alternative to air strikes.”

Israel’s prowess as a cyberwarfare innovator prompted Eugene Kaspersky, the CEO of Russian-based Kaspersky Labs, which discovered the existence of the Flame virus, to partake in the Second International Conference on Cyber-Security at Tel Aviv University this week.

“The very existence of our conference, and participants such as Kaspersky, is proof that Israel is perceived as a global cyber power,” said Professor Yitzchak Ben-Israel, head of The Yuval Ne’eman Science, Technology & Security Workshop at Tel Aviv University.

Israel’s cyberwarfare command has scored several other successes, including shutting off Syrian antiaircraft radar stations minutes before an Israeli Air Force attack obliterated a suspected Syrian nuclear facility several years ago. An offshoot of the various IDF cyberwarfare programs is the Israeli Air Forces’ Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadrons, which can jam communications and launch missiles deep inside enemy territory – including Iran. Another derivative is the Israeli navy’s mushrooming submarine program, which has the capacity to launch computer-guided cruise missiles, including nuclear-tipped ones, against targets across the Middle East.

Earlier this week, the German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel reported that the German government is helping the Israeli navy build these advanced submarines in northern Germany’s Kiel Shipyards. Using advanced German submarine technology and Israeli military innovation, including cyberwarfare, the next generation of Israeli Dolphin submarines contain secret hydraulic systems that enable the virtually undetectable subs to launch their munitions on Iran or other enemy countries.

To date the Israeli navy has ordered three of these advanced submarines, one already completed and undergoing rigorous sea trials in European waters. Once added to Israel’s current submarine fleet, which has three earlier model Dolphin subs, the Israeli navy will possess a second-strike capability should Iran or another adversary decide to launch massive attacks against Israeli civilian and military targets.

IDF Redefining Cyber Space as Battlefield

Monday, June 4th, 2012

The IDF Operations Department has put together instructions for military operations in cyberspace against enemies of the Jewish state.

According to a document released by the department, the IDF will engage in consistent and continuous intelligence gathering operations online, and said it will handle cyberspace as a battlefield as important as those at sea in the air, and on the ground, executing attacks when necessary.

Among the goals of Israel’s cyber warfare program are thwarting and disrupting enemy projects limiting the operational freedom of the state and the IDF, reducing the capabilities of Israel’s enemies online and on the ground, conducting public diplomacy, advocating for Israel, and assisting in IDF military operations in combat.

In January, the Israeli Defense Ministry established a special cyber warfare administration, to conduct cyber warfare in a coordinated effort between the IDF and Israeli security agencies.

January saw a significant increase in cyber attacks on Israeli interests.  Hackers broke into the Israel Fire and Rescue Services website, threatening a war between Israel and Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad, writing “Death to Israel”, and posting a picture of an armed Palestinian Authority man.  They also broke into the website of Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon .

In an attack causing grief throughout Israel, a group of Saudi hackers published the credit card information of many thousands of Israelis, urging haters of Israel and other hackers to use the credit card information to make purchases online.  Israeli banks froze the accounts of those who were hacked, and compensated owners of cards which were used to make illegal purchases.

According to senior security adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Isaac Ben-Israel, the state of Israel suffers 1,000 cyber-attacks every day.  Ben-Israel said the increased number of attacks have led Israel to pass laws requiring that major Israeli infrastructures institute measures to protect themselves from cyber terrorism.

Israel’s involvement in cyberwarfare has not been limited to its victimization, however.

In June 2010, Israel gained international admiration for its alleged involvement in the Stuxnet virus which caused severe damage to the Siemens supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems utilized by Iran’s uranium enrichment infrastructure.

In September 2007, Israel carried airstrikes on Syria dubbed Operation Orchard. Sources in US industry and military speculated that Israeli cyberwarfare had allowed Israel to pass under Syrian radar undetected.

Thousands of Computers in Iran, Mid-East, Attacked by ‘Flame’ Virus

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Russian computer security giant Kaspersky Lab announced on Monday the discovery of a highly sophisticated malicious program that is actively being used as a cyber weapon attacking entities in several countries. The complexity and functionality of the newly discovered malicious program exceed those of all other cyber menaces known to date.

Kaspersky’s research shows that the largest number of infected machines are in Iran, followed by the Israel/Palestine region, and Sudan and Syria.

Kaspersky Lab  is a Moscow headquartered and owned multi-national computer security company, co-founded by Natalia and Eugene Kaspersky in 1997. It is the world’s largest privately held vendor of software security products.

The malware, dubbed Flame, was discovered by Kaspersky Lab’s experts during an investigation prompted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The malicious program, detected as Worm.Win32.Flame, is designed to carry out cyber espionage. It can steal valuable information, including but not limited to computer display contents, information about targeted systems, stored files, contact data and even audio conversations.

Kaspersky was unable to name the maker of the Flame, but experts suspect that the complexity of the program means that it took the resources of a major industrial country, such as China, The U.S., Russia or Israel to create and deploy it.

Last Tuesday, the Iranian oil ministry said that its IT systems had suffered no lasting damage from a suspected cyber-attack, but its experts would require two or three days to investigate and address the impact of the virus.

The virus hit the internet and communications systems of the oil ministry and national oil company late on Sunday of last week, forcing Iran to disconnect the control systems of Kharg Island, which handles the vast majority of Iran’s crude exports, and a number of other oil facilities.

ITU and Kaspersky Lab were following up on a series of such incidents, which they suspect were born by another, still unknown, destructive malware program – code named Wiper – which deleted data on a number of computers in the Western Asia region. This particular malware is yet to be discovered, but during the analysis of those incidents, the experts came across the Flame.

According to Kaspersky Lab, preliminary findings indicate that this malware has been “in the wild” for more than two years – since March, 2010. Due to its extreme complexity, plus the targeted nature of the attacks, no security software detected it.

Although the features of Flame differ from the previous notable cyber weapons, the Stuxnet virus that sabotaged Iran’s nuclear facilities back in 2010, and the data-stealing virus Duqu, the geography of the Flame attacks, the use of specific software vulnerabilities, and the fact that only selected computers are being targeted, indicate that Flame belongs to the same category of super-cyberweapons.

CEO and co-founder of Kaspersky Lab Eugene Kaspersky said that “the risk of cyber warfare has been one of the most serious topics in the field of information security for several years now. Stuxnet and Duqu belonged to a single chain of attacks, which raised cyberwar-related concerns worldwide. The Flame malware looks to be another phase in this war, and it’s important to understand that such cyber weapons can easily be used against any country. Unlike with conventional warfare, the more developed countries are actually the most vulnerable in this case.”

The primary purpose of Flame appears to be cyber espionage, by stealing information from infected machines. Such information is then sent to a network of command-and-control servers located in many different parts of the world.

The diverse nature of the stolen information, which can include documents, screenshots, audio recordings and interception of network traffic, makes it one of the most advanced and complete attack-toolkits ever discovered. The exact infection vector has still to be revealed, but it is already clear that Flame has the ability to replicate over a local network using several methods, including the same printer vulnerability and USB infection method exploited by Stuxnet.

Alexander Gostev, Chief Security Expert at Kaspersky Lab, commented: “One of the most alarming facts is that the Flame cyber-attack campaign is currently in its active phase, and its operator is consistently surveilling infected systems, collecting information and targeting new systems to accomplish its unknown goals.”

Going To War Against Anti-Israel Hackers

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

The real heroes of our age are pencil-protector geeks. They sit at home, behind their keyboards, determining the rules of the game that you and I live by – and we trust them to do so. They love toys. They love games. They enjoy battle. They are at the forefront of the cyber war that is enveloping the world.

And then there are the wannabees.

Worms. Viruses. They made headline news and were front-page stories. Now come the hackers. Banks, stock exchanges, airlines, private Facebook pages – nothing is sacred and nothing is safe.

Most hackers are just an inconvenience. Yes, some of the damage they do can be serious and they must be found and punished for their actions. But run-of-the-mill computer pranksters are called “script kiddies” by serious hackers.

The reason for the term is that they only follow the directions of hacking. They use tools found online for free. They do not buy, build or create software to hack. They hate to pay for anything. They hack for the fun of it. They often hack for the irritation they give and the glory they get from their friends. They are hacker groupies.

So far, most of the hacking that disables servers – and frightens most people with a credit card – has been nothing more than a minor inconvenience. A self-proclaimed Saudi hacker called OxOmar was said to have stolen 400,000 Israeli credit cards and identification numbers. In the end it was 20,000 and he actually only gathered them from sites that had collected the information from merchants who have very poor security. OxOmar did not hack the Israeli banks. And getting private information on people is equivalent to kindergarten hacking, not post graduate work.

Israel’s Tel Aviv Stock Exchange website was hacked, as was Israel’s national airline, El Al. Once again, a very important distinction must be made. It is the websites that were hit, not the data banks. Yes, they should have been better protected, but websites are full of content, not data.

As one analyst described it, websites are like bulletin boards with lots of post-its. Someone just came and took down your material and put up his own insulting and graphic messages. The really important and valuable material stayed in the safe.

Script-kiddie hacking is a form of vandalism akin to graffiti. There’s no thievery and no other invasion – like viruses and worms – occurs.

There are professional and highly paid hackers who have the backing of industry and governments. They are the IT geeks tasked with the responsibility of developing software to access vaults. The technology they develop costs untold millions of dollars to develop.

They job of these professionals is to make certain the national electric grid is safe and the communication networks are secure.

They work quietly and behind the scenes. They are not headline grabbers like OxOmar, the Saudi hacker whose stated goal is to hurt Israel. OxOmar says he is a hacker and this is what he knows and how he can achieve his goal. He has joined forces with a group of pro-Palestinian hackers called Nightmare and they have begun their attack.

Not a day goes by without an Israeli website being assaulted. Israel’s allies have also been targeted. Azerbaijan has been attacked. The material posted by these hackers on Azerbaijanian websites emphasize that Azerbaijan has chosen to be friendly with Israel and the United States. Azerbaijan has responded by saying that some people are jealous of its success. And that is exactly correct.

It was the level of amateurism displayed by their enemies that so annoyed many Israeli hackers who under normal circumstances would have let things be and considered these hacking episodes as nothing more than children’s games. But Nightmare and OxOmar have announced they are unstoppable and can and will wreak havoc on Israel, making life miserable for Israeli society unless Israel apologizes for a slew of historical events.

Israel has to hit the hackers back. And they will hit back. The Israelis, by virtue of the situation, will take it up a notch. Israeli professionals will have to search for these anti-Israel amateurs and destroy their ability to hack. They will dismantle their systems and unmask them. Anonymity is what hackers need more than anything else.

There is no doubt that warfare is changing. But there is still a need to defend and to intimidate. Countries like the United States and Israel must make it clear that it is not worth the price of breaking into their computer systems.

True hacking is a game for grown-ups. True hacking save lives and saves money, it doesn’t hurt unknowing and uninvolved individuals for the sake of saying “Look at me, see what I can do.”

Micah D. Halpern is a columnist and a social and political commentator. The author, most recently, of “Thugs,” he maintains The Micah Report (www.micahhalpern.com).

Israel Internet Defense Among Top Three in the World

Monday, January 30th, 2012

According to a report by the Financial Times, the Security and Defense Agenda think tank has ranked Israel as one of the three most cyber-secure countries in the world.

The Brussels-based think tank said Israel is on par with Finland and Sweden as having the best internet defenses for websites.

According to the study, though Israeli websites are attacked 1,000 times a minute on the internet, national strategies for cyber-defense are already in place and being successfully implemented.

The study comes in the wake of the recent upsurge in activity on the Arab-Israeli cyber-war front, and the announcement that the Israeli National Cyber Defense Authority was officially launched.

Cyber Attacks UPDATE: Anti-Israel Hackers Strike Israeli Hospitals’ Websites

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Anti-Israel hackers infiltrated the websites of two Israeli hospitals on Wednesday, paralyzing them for hours in the latest strike in the ongoing Arab-Israeli cyber war.

The websites of Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer and Assouta Medical Center in Tel Aviv were both taken offline in a manner similar to previous cyber attacks on Israeli websites, according to security sources. The websites have since been restored.

 

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/cyber-attacks-update-anti-israel-hackers-strike-israeli-hospitals-websites/2012/01/25/

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