Dec 22 2009

FBI Probes Hacks at Citibank

Category: Security BreachDISC @ 4:45 pm

NYC - TriBeCa: Smith Barney-Citigroup Building
Image by wallyg via Flickr

The Wall Street Journal

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing a computer-security breach targeting Citigroup Inc. that resulted in a theft of tens of millions of dollars by computer hackers who appear linked to a Russian cyber gang, according to government officials.

The attack took aim at Citigroup’s Citibank subsidiary, which includes its North American retail bank and other businesses. It couldn’t be learned whether the thieves gained access to Citibank’s systems directly or through third parties.

The attack underscores the blurring of lines between criminal and national-security threats in cyber space. Hackers also assaulted two other entities, at least one of them a U.S. government agency, said people familiar with the attack on Citibank.

The Citibank attack was detected over the summer, but investigators are looking into the possibility the attack may have occurred months or even a year earlier. The FBI and the National Security Agency, along with the Department of Homeland Security and Citigroup, swapped information to counter the attack, according to a person familiar with the case. Press offices of the federal agencies declined to comment.

Joe Petro, managing director of Citigroup’s Security and Investigative services, said, “We had no breach of the system and there were no losses, no customer losses, no bank losses.” He added later: “Any allegation that the FBI is working a case at Citigroup involving tens of millions of losses is just not true.”

Citigroup is currently 27%-owned by the federal government.

The threat was initially detected by U.S. investigators who saw suspicious traffic coming from Internet addresses that had been used by the Russian Business Network, a Russian gang that has sold hacking tools and software for accessing U.S. government systems. The group went silent two years ago, but security experts say its alumni have re-emerged in smaller attack groups.

Security officials worry that, beyond stealing money, hackers could try to manipulate or destroy data, wreaking havoc on the banking system. When intruders get into one bank, officials say, they may be able to blaze a trail into others.

Continue reading at The Wall Street Journal

Tags: Business, Citibank, Citigroup, FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal government of the United States, Government agency, Russian Business Network, United States, United States Department of Homeland Security, Wall Street Journal

Dec 18 2009

Major security breach

Category: Security BreachDISC @ 2:20 pm

from AFP

Into The Breach

By Josh Rushing in Asia

When I was embedded with the US military in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in August I wandered into a tent that I immediately recognized from my days in the military. It was an operations tent, but it was far more technologically advanced than any operations center I ever witnessed as a US Marine. There were rows of tables with soldiers at laptops all facing enormous television screens that were filled with video of a family compound in southern Afghanistan. I was amazed at how clear the drone’s video was, even though it was being filmed in the dark of night.

It was easy in that tent, in the middle of what locals call the desert of death, to see how vital drones had become to the US military for both intelligence gathering and for remote-controlled strikes – bombings that Al Jazeera continuously reports on from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Iraq and Somalia.

Standing in the back of the tent gave me cover to observe the video for about 10 minutes before an officer noticed me and escorted me out. He was obviously flummoxed that my embed credentials had allowed me to gain access to such sensitive video. Little did I know at the time, that with a $26 computer programme and a cheap television satellite dish, I could have been seeing everything that the drones were broadcasting. And why not? As the Wall Street Journal reports the signal from drones is unencrypted, a fact militants in Iraq have been taking advantage of and a fact the US military has known about for a decade or more.

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Tags: Afghanistan, Asia, drone, drone breach, Helmand Province, major security breach, pakistan, Unmanned aerial vehicle, Wall Street Journal, waziristan