Here the first part with the timeline from 1 to 15 August 2012.
Here we are with the second part of the August 2012 Cyber Attacks Timeline. A second part of the month that has been characterized by hacktivism, most of all because of the so-called OperationFreeAssange, which has targeted many high-profile websites.
Among the targets of the month, Philips has been particularly “unlucky”. The Dutch giant has been the victim of three Cyber Attacks, even if there are several doubts about the authenticity of the hacks.
But maybe the biggest operation of the month is the #ProjectHellFire, carried on by the collective @TeamGhostShell, that has unleashed something as 1 million of accounts belonging to different sectors (banks, government agencies, consulting firms, law enforcement and the CIA). And the group promises new action for this Fall and Winter.
The Middle East confirms to be very hot, with a new Cyber Attack, probably another occurrence of Shamoon, targeting RasGas, yet another Oil Company.
Just one note: of course it is impossible to track all the targets of the #OpFreeAssange. You can find a complete list at cyberwarnews.info.
If you want to have an idea of how fragile our data are inside the cyberspace, have a look at the timelines of the main Cyber Attacks in 2011 and 2012 and the related statistics (regularly updated), and follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.
Also, feel free to submit remarkable incidents that in your opinion deserve to be included in the timelines (and charts).
Approximately a couple of weeks ago, an Israeli hacker called You-r!-k@n, one of the early contenders of the Middle East Cyber War, had defaced the Iran Energy Water Website. The attack was claimed as a form of cyber protest (and cyber retaliation) against Iranian institutions executed by the same author.
Yesterday, two weeks later, with the same motivations, the same hacker has targeted and defaced 91 Iranian sites, including several government and education sites together with several important companies.
All the affected sites (at the time of writing the ones listed below are still defaced) show the same message against the “terror” and the nuclear strategy of Iran together with an Israeli flag.
According to the author, the list of the victims include:
- The Tehran’s urban development (http://ashayer.gov.ir) and other web sites with domain gov.ir
- A large number of sites faculties and institutions, for example one of the largest universities in Iran: (http://sama-saveh.ac.ir/info1-28.htm);
- The websites of several large electronic companies (http://gaamelectric.ir/info1-28.htm);
- The websites of one of the largest gas and oil company (http://satrap.ir/info1-28.htm);
According to the original statement of You-r!-k@n:
This is an attack against Iran than support terrorism and developing nuclear weapons to destroy Israel.
The situation between the two hot countries of the Middle East continues to be tense, and cyberspace is not an exception.
You-r!-k@n keeps on his personal battle against Iran.
The latest target is the official website of Iran Energy Water (tw.org.ir), which has been defaced, showing, in several sections, of the main page, a message against the Iran Nuclear Program and against the recent event in Bulgaria where five Israeli tourists (and their local driver) were killed in a terrorist attack in the Black Sea city of Burgas. At the time of writing the web site is unavailable, showing the well-familiar IIS7 Splash Screen (in spite of the embargo and the alleged Iranian Cyber Autarchy).
As you know, Israel blamed Iran for the latter event (backed by American Officials), and hence, easily predictable, the dispute between the two states has (once again) crossed the boundaries of the cyber world (but a defacement is quite a simple question in comparison with Stuxnet and The Flame).
The time of the Middle East Cyber War is well behind, nevertheless cyber events targeting both countries, whether state-sponsored or carried on by lone rangers, continue to happen at a constant rate.
I have just received an email from the israeli hacker dubbed you-ri-k@n providing me with some details about a peculiar Cyber Attack against an Iranian news web site. Looks like you-ri-k@n has a kind of predilection for Iran: you will probably remember him for his last cyber attack (nearly a couple of months ago) targeting the Iranian Meteorological Organization.
This time the victim is the Islamic Republic Of Iran Broadcasting World Service, whose main page currently shows a fake news reporting the death of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the sixth and current President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in a plane crash.
Clicking on the “News” button redirects the user to an image where (few) additional details about the fake incident are provided:
Few days ago, with the flame still burning, Iranian officials claimed to be under the fire of a massive cyber attack. Of course this isolated episode may not be compared with Stuxnet or The Flame, nevertheless it shows that, even if in a microscopic scale, the cyber tension between the two countries is still high.
- A New Beginning For The Middle East Cyberwar? (hackmageddon.com)
After several months of silence, a new resounding dump in Middle East.
I have just received an email message from you-r!-k@n, one of the early pro-Israeli contenders of the Middle East Cyber War, advising me of a new huge dump against an Iranian Server (irimo.ir, Iranian Meteorological Organization), which is currently unavailable. He claims to have acquired administrator privileges for the domain (1500 computers and server, 400 users), and has posted some screenshot as evidence, and the list of 400 Active Directory Users.
Of course I have decided not to publish the list except a small sample (which appears to come from a Windows 2000 Server), but cannot help but notice that, after a couple of months of silence, this is the first new event that closely resembles the resounding dumps which characterized the very first stage of the Middle East Cyber War.
Will this be an isolated episode or a brand new precursor of a new wave of attacks in the Middle East?
Update: Irimo.ir is currently unavailable, however, I was given a screenshot of the site before it was taken down. Looking at the messages left on the devastated site (which announced the erase of the Active Directory), it is interesting to notice that the reference to the Nuclerar as to reaffirm that the standoff between Israel and Iran about the Nuclear Strategy of Tehran, is influencing also the Cyber Space.
The more I look inside the Middle East Cyber War between Israel and the Arab Hackers, the more I realize that it follows exactly the same shape than the real conflict.
In particular this last week has seen a strong reduction of the cyber events between the involved parties, although it is not clear if this was due to stronger cyber defenses enforced, or it was rather a kind of “calm before the storm”.
Among the reported events I considered particularly meaningful the attack of InLightPress, a Palestinian news website, of whom I did not find any other report except the one quoted in the Infographic which comes from a Pro-Israeli Website (this is the reason why this event must be considered with the necessary caution). Maybe it is not directly related to the Middle East Cyber War, anyway it looks like this attack was not originated by Israeli hackers, but had rather been “commissioned” by the Palestinian Authority. In the real world political parties or movement have different wings (typically hawks and doves), it looks like this is true for the cyber world as well. On the other hand, some believe that also the attack carried on last week against the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, considered close to Pro-Palestinian movements, has an internal origin, that maybe explains the subsequent excuses by the alleged authors of the attack (BTW at the above link there is an interesting list of the hack published in pastebin by the Israeli Hackers).
Do you believe the descending trend of the cyber events will be confirmed in the next period, or it is rather a temporary cyber truce before the digital storm?