Oct 19 2009

Hacks hit embassy, government e-mail accounts worldwide

Category: CybercrimeDISC @ 1:46 pm

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Hacks hit embassy, government e-mail accounts worldwide
By Daniel Goldberg and Linus Larsson
Computer Sweden
August 30, 2007

Usernames and passwords for more than 100 e-mail accounts at embassies
and governments worldwide have been posted online. Using the
information, anyone can access the accounts that have been compromised.

Computer Sweden has verified the posted information and spoken to the
person who posted them. The posted information includes names of the
embassies and governments, addresses to e-mail servers, usernames and
passwords. Among the organizations on the list are the foreign ministry
of Iran, the Kazakh and Indian embassies in the U.S. and the Russian
embassy in Sweden.

Freelance security consultant Dan Egerstad posted the information. He
spoke openly about the leak when Computer Sweden contacted him.

“I did an experiment and came across the information by accident,” he

Egerstad says he never used the information to log in to any of the
compromised accounts in order not to break any laws.

Computer Sweden confirmed that the login details for at least one of the
accounts is correct. Egerstad forwarded an e-mail sent on Aug. 20 by an
employee at the Swedish royal court to the Russian embassy. The person
who sent the e-mail, in which she declines an invitation to the Russian
embassy, has confirmed that she sent the e-mail.

“Yes, that is right. We did decline the invitation. As far as I can
remember I did send the e-mail,” she said.

Computer Sweden has not been able to confirm the authenticity of any of
the other information that has been posted.

“When something like this happens you usually contact people and ask
them to fix it. But in this case it felt too big for that, calling to
other countries,” Egerstad said.

Of the compromised accounts, 10 belong to the Kazakh embassy in Russia.

Around 40 belong to Uzbeki embassies and consulates around the world.

Login details for e-mail accounts at the U.K. visa office in Nepal were
also posted. Login details for the foreign ministry of Iran, the Kazakh
and Indian embassies in the U.S. and the Russian embassy in Sweden were
also posted.

“I hope this makes them take action. Hopefully, faster than ever before,
and I hope they become a bit more aware of security issues,” Dan
Egerstad says.

Computer Sweden has contacted both the Russian and Indian embassies in
Stockholm for comment. The Russian embassy confirmed the leaks and says
that logins have now been changed. The Indian embassy declined to
confirm the information and give comment.

Computer Sweden has not published where the login details can be found.
The information in this story has been verified by Computer Sweden
without using any of the published login details.

Computer Sweden is an InfoWorld affiliate.

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Tags: government hack, government security breach, hack attack, Iran, Nepal, Rusia, Security Breach, Stockholm, Sweden

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