Thursday, May 26, 2022

How To Hack The Government

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In a video posted to YouTube five years ago, a team of cybersecurity experts listens as one of their colleagues reels off some major recent hacks of corporate systems: Sony, Target, Home Depot. They were all hacked long before anyone figured it out, he says. By the time it becomes visible, the damage is usually done.

Apparently, he and his employer didnt take the warning to heart.

The speaker worked for SolarWinds, an obscure but important provider of network management tools for the U.S. government and hundreds of thousands of private customers, including many of Americas biggest corporations. Over the weekend, Reuters reported that a software patch issued by SolarWinds in the spring had been compromised by a hacking team that other reports connected to Russian intelligence. The reporting was backed up by forensic research from FireEye, a prominent security firm that was also a target of the hacking campaign. In short, SolarWinds was hacked beginning eight months ago, but the damage is only now coming to light.

However flawed the VEP is, at least it constitutes a framework for decision-making. There is no such framework for adjudicating conflict with our cyber adversaries. Instead, we have various world powers duking it out daily, endlessly probing adversaries networks for weaknesses, planting malware that may be called on later for intelligence gatheringor something worse. This, after all, is the job of spies who are entrusted with powerful hacking tools.

Hackers Have Many Reasons Why They Want To Target Governments And Many Methods Of How To Attack The Challenge Governments Face Is How To Protect Against Threats While Staying Compliant

    • Government agencies and institutions house highly sensitive information – a goldmine for hackers
    • The government is at the intersection of many different industries – attacks could be coming from all sides
    • Government IT and security teams are faced with a do more with less challenge – they dont have the bandwidth to address and secure all threats
    • State and local governments are typically less funded than federal government institutions. Small budgets and scarce resources dont protect against large-scale attacks – easier to target and easier to breach
    • The government has a huge reliance on third parties and contractors – one of the leading causes of cyberattacks


    Does The Government Have The Right To Hack You

    While the FBI’s actions may have prevented the threat of rogue agents, they have set a dangerous precedent that could allow for less justifiable violations in the future. It’s not hard to imagine governments preemptively hacking apps and devices to combat potential cyberattacks, even in the absence of a specific threat

    It would also be worrying to see government agencies hacking private sector entities as a preventative national security measure. Using incidents like the recent Solarwinds breach as justification, the FBI could covertly access the internal systems of any company that works with the US government. It’s far too easy to slip towards a world of state-sanctioned privacy infringement.

    Governments have a duty of care to their citizens, but the argument that this justifies compromising personal privacy for the greater good is worrying. Many governments already have a huge surveillance apparatus at their fingertips, so normalizing interventions like the Microsoft Exchange hack could erode individual freedoms still further. Moreover, the FBI may ask collaborative courts to implement similar measures in other countries.

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    What Is The Problem

    As a form of government surveillance, hacking presents unique and grave threats to our privacy and security. It has the potential to be far more intrusive than any other surveillance technique, permitting the government to remotely and surreptitiously access our personal devices and all the intimate information they store. It also permits the government to conduct novel forms of real-time surveillance, by covertly turning on a device’s microphone, camera, or GPS-based locator technology, or by capturing continuous screenshots or seeing anything input into and output from the device. Hacking allows governments to manipulate data on our devices, by deleting, corrupting or planting data recovering data that has been deleted or adding or editing code to alter or add capabilities, all while erasing any trace of the intrusion. Government hacking targets are not confined to devices, but can extend also to communications networks and their underlying infrastructure.

    A growing number of governments around the world are embracing hacking to facilitate their surveillance activities. But many deploy this capability in secret and without a clear basis in law. In the instances where governments seek to place such powers on statutory footing, they are doing so without the safeguards and oversight necessary to minimise the privacy and security implications of hacking.

    More On Government Hacking And Warrants

    Hacking Into The Government

    “It would be really absurd if individuals in the US were able to use technological means to immunize themselves from federal warrants,” Hennessey said.

    But Andrew Crocker, a staff attorney at the privacy-oriented Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the change is more than procedural.

    “Realistically,” he said, “a court is going to say, ‘This is more authorized than before.'”

    Until now, some judges have refused to approve warrants that allow investigators to plant software on computers that could be anywhere — Oregon, Maryland or Timbuktu. That uncertainty over location has caused these judges to question whether they have the authority to grant the warrant in the first place.

    Normally, magistrate judges can allow searches only within their jurisdictions their authority ends at the border of their judicial district. Now the rules will clearly state they can consider these unique requests from investigators.

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    How Does Graykey Work

    Until recently, we didnt have many details on how the police can use GrayKey to hack into locked iPhones. Grayshift had done a pretty good job keeping the process to itself. But a recently leaked document showcases how GrayKey can use a brute force method to access any iPhone.

    These documents were allegedly written by the San Diego Police Department.

    According to these documents, once you plug GrayKey into an iPhone, itll detect the alphanumeric passcode and try to install an agent that will use a text file with over 63 million passwords until it finds the passcode to unlock the iPhone. This process could take a really long time. According to the leaked document, this process can take up to 183 days to process the entire list. Thats why we recommend you stop using these easy-to-guess iPhone passcodes.

    Whats even cooleror should we say scarieris that the analyst using GrayKey could also install something the leaked documentation calls hideUi, an app that will secretly run on a persons iPhone and record the users passcode. That way, if the GrayKey analyst cant hold the iPhone or iPad for a long enough time, they have another way to find out the suspects passcode.

    Who Has Been Affected And How Bad Is It

    The scale of the hack is potentially global and, because the affected software touches many parts of a business, potentially devastating for organizations.

    SolarWinds, of Austin, Texas, provides network-monitoring and other technical services to hundreds of thousands of organizations around the world, including most Fortune 500 companies and government agencies in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

    Its compromised product, Orion, accounts for nearly half of SolarWinds annual revenue . Orions centralized monitoring looks for problems in an organizations computer networks, which means that breaking in gave the attackers a God view of those networks.

    These types of tools are allowed deep access to systems, said Brandon Hoffman, the chief information security officer at the California-based IT provider Netenrich. The reason these systems are good targets is because theyre deeply embedded in systems operations and administration.

    SolarWinds said it sent an advisory to about 33,000 of its Orion customers who might have been affected, though it estimated a smaller number of customers fewer than 18,000 had actually installed the compromised product update earlier this year.

    Neither SolarWinds nor US cybersecurity authorities have publicly identified which organizations were breached. Just because a company or agency uses SolarWinds as a vendor doesnt necessarily mean it was vulnerable to the hacking.

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    United States V Michaud


    As part of the investigation into the case, the FBI hacked and took control of this website. While controlling Website A, the FBI sought to identify the specific computers, and ultimately the individuals, accessing the site, by deploying a network investigating technology that cause an activating computerwherever locatedto send to a computer-controlled by or known to the government, network-level messages containing information that may assist in identifying the computer, its location, other information

    However, following a complaint from the defendant, the judge found that the way in which this investigation was performed did not directly address the kind of situation that the NIT Warrant was authorized to investigate, and the case was struck down.

    You Can’t Hide From Government Hacking

    How I Hacked The US Government Aged 16 | Minutes With | @LADbible TV

    US law enforcement now has an easier legal path to hack into any computer, anywhere in the world.

    Sen. Chris Coons sought a delay to changes in the federal rules, but the US Senate didn’t heed his call.

    The FBI will now find it easier to hack your computer no matter where you are.

    Thank — or blame — a controversial shift in how judges issue search warrants.

    The change, effective Thursday, affects Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which are proposed by the US Department of Justice and approved by the US Supreme Court. It will allow federal investigators to seek permission from a magistrate judge in, say, Texas, to plant hacking software on a computer that’s disguising its location.

    This form of government hacking is a tool that prosecutors have used to identify suspects in financial crimes and child porn cases, who typically use anonymizing tools to hide their computers’ IP addresses. That makes them challenging to catch. The changes will also let investigators use a single warrant to access the computers of hacking victims in some cases.

    The Justice Department has called the change essential to fighting crime, but privacy advocates say it gives federal investigators too much power. Some lawmakers also chafed at the lack of public debate on the matter.

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    Government Response To Id Database Hack

    On October 13, the Argentinian government released a statement on this matter. It denied the hacking of the National Registry of Persons. The statement, instead, tried to give the impression that it was only a VPN account assigned to the Health Ministry that got hacked. The VPN was exploited to query the RENAPER database for 19 photographs when they got published on Twitter.

    Nevertheless, the hacker, who was selling access to the RENAPER government ID database on the hacking forum, contradicted the official statement. The Record, a cybersecurity news publication, contacted the cybercriminal for his take on the matter. According to the Record, the cybercriminal had a copy of the data, which reversed the government statement.

    The hacker provided the details, including the Trámite number, of a random Argentinian citizen of choice that the Record had asked for evidence. The cybercriminal also added that he would publish the data of one or two million people in a few days. Meanwhile, the hacker claimed to continue selling access to the RENAPER data to every interested buyer.

    How To Ethically Hack The Government

    From the video, “You’ll Never be the Same Again

    The government sucks at technology, Chris Lynch said repeatedly to a group of Stanford undergraduates eager to put their computer-science skills to good use. When the government launched, only six people could create an account, which cost $1 billion, he told the students while on campus February 28. Thats not a very good return on our investment. Would it cost $2 billion to get 12 users? he wondered aloud as students laughed.

    Chris Lynch directs the Defense Digital Service at the Pentagon, and one of his goals is to get students interested in working for the government instead of Facebook, Google and other Silicon Valley tech companies that are vying for their talent. The government needs people like you, but they assume you arent interested, he said. For Lynch, this is a real shame, because there are ample opportunities for students to make a significant impact on peoples lives through government work.

    His agency’s work is as ambitious as any startup’s mission statement: In collaboration with military families, DDS built a one-stop website for service members and civilian employees in need of family relocation assistance. And in 2016, according to the DDS homepage, the agency “engaged ethical hackers and leading security researchers across the globe” through Hack the Pentagon, “the first bug bounty program in the history of the federal government.”

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    Scope Of Russian Hacking Becomes Clear: Multiple Us Agencies Were Hit

    The Pentagon, intelligence agencies, nuclear labs and Fortune 500 companies use software that was found to have been compromised by Russian hackers. The sweep of stolen data is still being assessed.

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    By David E. Sanger, Nicole Perlroth and Eric Schmitt

    WASHINGTON The scope of a hacking engineered by one of Russias premier intelligence agencies became clearer on Monday, when some Trump administration officials acknowledged that other federal agencies the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and parts of the Pentagon had been compromised. Investigators were struggling to determine the extent to which the military, intelligence community and nuclear laboratories were affected by the highly sophisticated attack.

    United States officials did not detect the attack until recent weeks, and then only when a private cybersecurity firm, FireEye, alerted American intelligence that the hackers had evaded layers of defenses.

    It was evident that the Treasury and Commerce Departments, the first agencies reported to be breached, were only part of a far larger operation whose sophistication stunned even experts who have been following a quarter-century of Russian hacks on the Pentagon and American civilian agencies.

    SolarWinds customers on Monday were still trying to assess the effects of the Russian attack.

    Government Hacking: Not Just For Bad Guys

    Federal Government Tells Twenty

    Government investigators wouldn’t just target criminal suspects with hacking software with warrants obtained under Rule 41. The rule changes also let investigators seek a single warrant to hack computers of hacking victims in their efforts to fight a particular kind of online menace: the botnet.

    Hackers cobble together networks of hacked computers to carry out nefarious tasks. Increasingly, these attacks are also targeting internet-connected devices we don’t always think of as computers, such as security cameras. The rule changes would let government investigators get one warrant to hack all the computers in a botnet and potentially try to disable it.

    While that sounds like it could be a good thing, privacy advocates say it’s a bridge too far for the government to access victim’s computers without their consent or knowledge.

    It’s also just strange to contemplate, said Jill Bronfman, a privacy law expert at UC Hastings College of the Law. Would some version of Microsoft’s much-maligned Clippy appear in your screen, letting you know the government was at work on your computer offering unsolicited help?

    “We’ll have to think of a good icon for this,” Bronfman said.

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    Government Hacking And Subversion Of Digital Security

    Too often, the policies and practices of law enforcement and intelligence agencies can be disastrous for security.

    Attempts to weaken encryption through law, policy, or informal pressure can make technology devices less secure for everyone. Government agents may infiltrate, copy, delete, or damage data during digital investigations. The government may even actively create and disseminate malware that can damage computers. Weve seen these dangerous techniques employed both in the United States and in countries around the world, and they inevitably have the same consequence: we are less secure.

    Government attacks on security come in many disguises, including:

    These tools can have dire consequences for the security and privacy of users who have done nothing wrong and are not even connected to an investigation. In other cases, these tools are disproportionate to the threat, wreaking havoc on users computers when less invasive techniques would have been appropriate.

    In balancing the need for strong security against the potential benefit of hacking and other anti-security techniques, the governmentincluding the courtsmust carefully consider the costs to society. The public needs to be able to access secure digital tools. And as a society, we have an interest in protecting innocent users from the collateral effects of intrusive surveillance, whether by law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

    Government Id Database Hack For The Entire Population Of Argentina

    Allegedly, cybercriminals managed to hack the government ID database of the entire population of Argentina in September 2021. According to the reports, the leaked data is sold in private circles. This government ID database hack targeted RENAPER, a crucial agency under the Argentinian Interior Ministry. The agency is responsible for issuing ID cards to all citizens. It stores data in digital format to ensure accessibility to other government agencies.

    It is worth noting that RENAPER, or the National Registry of Persons, possesses insurmountable data, including the government ID database. The data incorporates official ID card details, national registry, and photos of all the Argentinian population.

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