Open Thread: Investigative leads

A number of stories dealing with different forms of cyberwarfare have been floating around the last couple of days. Are they connected? Probably not. They are all interesting in their own right and in my opinion bear further investigation. What do you think?

North Korean cyber rampage? Not so fast . . .  suggests a different scenario. There are some interesting links in the articles for those who want to pursue the story.

Over the weekend, a handful of U.S. government Web sites came under a denial of service attack, in which huge amounts of data are thrown at a server in an attempt to overwhelm it. In such an attack, the servers gets so many bogus requests for information that it can't respond to genuine ones.

But those weren't the only sites targeted. Apparently sites in South Korea were victims as well, prompting some in the intelligence community to speculate that North Korea - or those sympathetic to its cause - may be the source of the virtual assault.

But those who have looked at the code being used in the attacks have their doubts.

The attacks are being waged by a botnet, a cluster of Internet-connected computers that are infected with malware. The infected systems receive instructions causing them to take some action en masse, ranging from sending spam to flooding Web sites in a DoS attack. Botnets are increasingly common, comprising millions of systems, often under the control of criminal gangs who rent them out for profit.

As an example, the notorious Conficker worm - the last cybersecurity crisis to pin the hypemeter - was designed to form a botnet.

In the case of the U.S. and South Korean attacks, there's nothing in the code that indicates North Korea or its sympathizers are the culprits, security researchers say.


Flash Goldman Gold Theft Bomshell, Seems like Goldman Sachs is able to illegally access trading data. The general idea seems clear to me but the details less so. Still it looks to be a BIG story.

Something really ugly popped up on Daily Kos yesterday late in the afternoon.....

...GS, through access to the system as a result of their special gov't perks, was/is able to read the data on trades before it's committed, and place their own buys or sells accordingly in that brief moment, thus allowing them to essentially steal buttloads of money every day from the rest of the punters world.

Two things come out of this:

  1. If true, this should be highly illegal, and would, in any sane country result in something like what happened to Arthur Andersen...

 (2. ... is way off point....)

God help Goldman if this is true and the government goes after them.  This would constitute massive unlawful activity.  Indeed, the allegation is that Goldman alone was given this access!

God help our capital markets if this is true and is ignored by our government and regulatory agencies, or generates nothing more than a "handslap."  Nobody in their right mind would ever trade on our markets again if this occurred and does not result in severe criminal and civil penalties.

There apparently is reason to believe that Sergey might have been involved in exactly this sort of coding implementation.  Specifically, look at the patent claims cited on DailyKos; his expertise was in fact in this general area of knowledge in the telecommunications world..

Report: UK tabloid hacked into voicemails This one might be titled all the news that's unfit to print.

LONDON — The tricks of the trade of Britain's rambunctious tabloid press came under scrutiny Thursday, after a newspaper reported that a tabloid owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch had illegally hacked into the mobile phones of hundreds of celebrities and politicians.

But in the end police said they would not reopen an investigation into the claims against Murdoch's News of the World, accused by The Guardian newspaper of paying private investigators to obtain voice mail messages, bank statements and other information about public figures, including Gwyneth Paltrow, George Michael and senior British politicians.

The News of the World's royal editor, Clive Goodman, was jailed in January 2007 for hacking into the phones of palace officials, and The Guardian claimed the practice was widespread at the newspaper at the time.

On Thursday morning, Paul Stephenson, London's police chief, announced that he had appointed a senior Scotland Yard officer to look into The Guardian's claims. But seven hours later, that officer, police Assistant Commissioner John Yates, announced that the allegations had been thoroughly examined during the Goodman case and "no further investigation is required."

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