Sunday, December 6, 2009

Does the Hacked Email Trail End in Russia?

Looks like it:
An investigation by The Mail on Sunday has discovered that the explosive hacked emails from the University of East Anglia were leaked via a small web server in the formerly closed city of Tomsk in Siberia.

Computer hackers in Tomsk have been used in the past by the Russian secret service (FSB) to shut websites which promote views disliked by Moscow.


Such arrangements provide the Russian government with plausible deniability while using so-called ‘hacker patriots’ to shut down websites.

In 2002, Tomsk students were said to have launched a ‘denial of service’ attack at the Kavkaz-Tsentr portal, a site whose reports about Chechnya angered Russian officials.


A Russian hacking specialist said last night: ‘There is no hard evidence that the hacking was done from Tomsk, though it might have been.

'There has been speculation the hackers were Russian. It appears to have been a sophisticated and well-run operation, that had a political motive given the timing in relation to Copenhagen.’

I don't know if Russian hackers are the best in the world, but they probably are most aggressive. The do make the folks over at 4Chan look like an Elks Club and tend to work with impunity so long as the targets of their escapades are outside greater Russia.

However, this doesn't really fit the MO of the FSB. It's one thing to launch denial of service attacks on a server, but stealing the email archives requires a fairly sophisticates PR offensive and knowledge of how they would play out in the West. The FSB is used to doing things through brute force. Then again, since they're dealing with foreigner in this case they may be operating under a new set of rules.

[via D]

1 comment:

CJ said...

Considering how Russia's been positioning itself on the "**oil pipeline", would it not be prudent for them to hack every environmental science study center looking for information to debunk current science data studies?

Cripes- they've got rubels depending on finding anything to create a little smoke and mirror delay of new global treaties.

** Also natural gas source, coal and other limited fossil fuels.

(On the other hand, the US oil industry has earned record BILLIONS over the last couple of years. They might just have a little financial and "speculative" interest in the process as well.)