Monday, 8 April 2013

'Anonymous' linked to hack attack on North Korea's Twitter, Flickr

Hackers apparently broke into at least two of North Korea's government-run online sites Thursday, as tensions rose on the Korean Peninsula. The North's Uriminzokkiri Twitter and Flickr accounts stopped sending out content typical of that posted by the regime in Pyongyang, such as photos of North's leader Kim Jong Un meeting with military officials. Instead, a picture posted Thursday on the North's Flickr site shows Kim's face with a pig-like snout and a drawing of Mickey Mouse on his chest. Underneath, the text reads: "Threatening world peace with ICBMs and Nuclear weapons/Wasting money while his people starve to death." Another posting says "We are Anonymous" in white letters against a black background. Anonymous is a name of a hacker activist group. A statement purporting to come from the attackers and widely circulated online said that they had compromised 15,000 user records hosted on and other websites. The authenticity of the statement couldn't be confirmed, but the North's official website did not open Thursday. Tweets on the North's Twitter account said "Hacked" followed by a link to North Korea-related websites. One tweet said "Tango Down" followed by a link to the North's Flickr page. North Korea opened its Twitter account in 2010. It has more than 13,000 followers. The North uses the social media to praise its system and leaders and also to repeat commentaries sent out by North's official Korean Central News Agency. Tensions have been high in recent days between North and South Korea, and the North's military warned Thursday that it had been authorized to attack the U.S. North Korea is angry about sanctions against its nuclear program and joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea.

Bitcoin Wallet Site Instawallet Hacked

The digital currency Bitcoin has suffered yet another hack. Bitcoin wallet site Instawallet has been taken offline after a security compromise, has suspended its service indefinitely.
Instawallet didn't say in a notice on its website how many bitcoins were stolen after hackers fraudulently accessed company database. "The Instawallet service is suspended indefinitely until we are able to develop an alternative architecture. Our database was fraudulently accessed, due to the very nature of Instawallet it is impossible to reopen the service as-is."

Bitcoin is a virtual currency that uses a peer-to-peer system to confirm transactions through public key cryptography. The company also announced it will accept claims for individual Instawallets for the first 90 days, using the wallets’ URL and key to file the claim. Clients will then be refunded the currency value if the balance is less than 50 BTC.

The breach follows a series of attacks targeting bitcoin services. In September 2012, Bitfloor has suspended all operations after a hacker stole $250,000 worth of bitcoins. In May of last year, exchange site Bitcoinica was also breached, and attackers managed to grab bitcoins valued at $90,000.

It may be a day or two before the effect of this theft on the currency can be determined. Bitcoin-Central is expecting to have their services back up and running within 48 hours and have promised to give 24 hours notice before going live. Instawallet however has been permanently compromised and is closing.

Carberp botnet developers arrested in Russia

Carberp botnet developers team arrested in RussiaAccording to a report from Russian newspaper, a group of 20 people who served as its malware development team, were arrested by the Sluzhba Bezpeky Ukrayiny and the Federalnaya sluzhba bezopasnosti Rossiyskoy Federatsii (federal security service of Russia, FSB) in cities around Ukraine.
Over $250 million has been stolen by the members of the botnet ring, which had roughly 20 members aged between 25 and 30. “Some experts did an enormous amount of work, which resulted in identifying the head of this criminal group, the owner and operator of a specialized banking botnet, identifying the control servers, and identifying the directing of traffic from popular websites in order to spread malware infection,” said Ilya Sachkov, chief executive of Group-IB,
As recently as December, Carpberp fetched $40,000 per kit. Carberp malware was used as part of the "Eurograbber" botnet system uncovered late last year that went after both PCs and smartphones in its financial fraud campaign.
Like other banking Trojans, Carberp could intercept information which could be used to break into online banking accounts and transfer funds. Its mobile component allows criminals to steal mobile transaction authentication numbers (mTANs) sent by banks to authorize specific transactions.
Each of them worked remotely, and were responsible for the development of one part of the malware, officials said. Carberp was constantly modified and updated to ensure it would evade antivirus detection. If found guilty, under current law, they could face up to five years in prison.

Microsoft Rolls Out Fix for Critical Flaws in Windows and Internet Explorer

Microsoft has released an advance notification of 9 security bulletins that it plans to release on April 9, 2013. Microsoft said it will patch nine vulnerabilities in total and two of them rated critical and that of the remaining 7 as Important.
Patch Tuesday
The critical vulnerabilities are remote code execution issues. First vulnerability affects Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer while the second vulnerability affects Microsoft Windows. 
The vulnerability will fix a flaw that allows a drive-by attack, which hackers can exploit to attack machines running the software using malware loaded websites. Earlier this year, Microsoft released an emergency update for Internet Explorer after all the commotion about the security holes in Java. The update aimed to patch a security vulnerability in Internet Explorer that is being used for attacks on government contractors and other organisations.
The remaining 7 vulnerabilities pertain to issues affecting Microsoft Office, Microsoft Server Software and Microsoft Windows. Microsoft will host a webcast to address customer questions on the security bulletins on April 10, 2013, at 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US & Canada).

17 year old charged for unauthorized access

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) issued a statement over the matter, saying that a search warrant was issued at the youth's home in Glenmore Park, New South Wales, in November last year.
The youth has been charged with six counts of unauthorised modification of data to cause impairment, one count of unauthorised access with intent to commit a serious offence, one count of possession of data with intent to commit a computer offence, and 12 counts of unauthorised access to restricted data. 
"Australian Federal Police investigates various types of cybercrime and will continue to take a strong stance against these perpetrators" Suspected hacker faces a maximum of 10 years jail time if convicted and will face court again on May 17.
The AFP says the accused was charged with the following:
  1. "Six counts of unauthorised modification of data to cause impairment, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment;
  2. One count of unauthorised access with intent to commit a serious offence, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment;
  3. One count of possession of data with intent to commit a computer offence, which carries a maximum penalty of 3 years imprisonment; and
  4. Twelve counts of unauthorised access to restricted data, which carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment."
Police said, "protesting through computer intrusions and website defacements is not an appropriate method to raise public awareness about any issue."

Google to acquire WhatsApp

After last years’ talk of Facebook wanting to acquire WhatsApp, a new report states that Google is interested in buying the popular messenger service. According to DigitalTrends, which is quoting inside sources, WhatsApp is in the negotiating phase over prices with Google. The report states that the deal started four or five weeks ago and adds that WhatsApp is “playing hardball” and jockeying for a higher acquisition price, which currently is “close to” $1 billion right now. Previously  TechCrunch had reported that Facebook wanted to buy Whatsapp. The report had quoted sources close to the matter.
Google to acquire WhatsApp.

However, in a statement to VentureBeat, WhatsApp had denied any such deal taking placed and the company’s business head Neeraj Arora said, “The TechCrunch article is a rumor and not factually accurate. We have no further information to share at the moment.”
Whatsapp has been one of the biggest success stories as far as messaging apps are concerned.  At the end of October  2011, the messaging service had announced that they now saw over 1 billion messages being sent in a single day. Whatsapp blogpost sees nearly That is 41,666,667 messages an hour, 694,444 messages a minute, and 11,574 messages a second.. These are pretty big numbers as far as Google concerned. In its current form, WhatsApp has no advertising. According to WhatApp’s blogpost, the reason that there is no advertising is, Remember, when advertising is involved you the user are the product.
At WhatsApp, our engineers spend all their time fixing bugs, adding new features and ironing out all the little intricacies in our task of bringing rich, affordable, reliable messaging to every phone in the world. That’s our product and that’s our passion. Your data isn’t even in the picture. We are simply not interested in any of it.
If Google does acquire the product however, WhatsApp could kiss goodbye to the no-advertising system.