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Hacker breaches US FBI website, leakes personal account information to a Public site: Report

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Moscow, Jan 5, 2017: A hacker has claimed to have breached the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s website and leaked personal account information to a public site, media reported.

The hacker, known as CyberZeist, exploited a zero-day vulnerability in the highly-secure Plone Content Management System (CMS) of the FBI’s website and leaked some of the information to Pastebin, an open source site that is often used by hackers to post stolen information and bits of code, RT.com reported on Thursday.

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A zero-day fault is a vulnerability in the code that has not been detected, listed, or patched yet. Therefore, the FBI had zero days to respond to the attack.

This is not the first time the hacker claimed breaching the FBI site. In 2011, CyberZeist is believed to have hacked the FBI site as a member of a group known as Anonymous.

Authorities in the US have not yet responded to the recent hacking incident that was claimed to have occurred last month.

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“fbi.gov CMS Exploited, files in view – PasswordResetTool.py, product permissions, setup file. More coming soon #FBI #PWNED,” the hacker had tweeted on December 22.

“Don’t blame the #hacker, blame the faulty #code!,” CyberZeist had said in another tweet on December 27.

CyberZeist warned other agencies that are currently using the Plone CMS that they too are vulnerable to a similar attack. “Amnesty acknowledges to patch the Plone #vulnerability in their CMS, just in time!,” CyberZeist said in a recent tweet. (IANS)

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U.S. Government Warns People Against China-Linked Hacking Group

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Cloudhopper
Alister Shepherd, the director of a subsidiary of the cybersecurity firm FireEye, gestures during a presentation about the APT33 hacking group, which his firm suspects are Iranian government-aligned hackers, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. VOA

The U.S. government warned Wednesday that a hacking group widely known as cloudhopper, which Western cybersecurity firms have linked to the Chinese government, has launched attacks on technology service providers in a campaign to steal data from their clients.

The Department of Homeland issued a technical alert for cloudhopper, which it said was engaged in cyber espionage and theft of intellectual property, after experts with two prominent U.S. cybersecurity companies warned earlier this week that Chinese hacking activity has surged amid the escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing.

Chinese authorities have repeatedly denied claims by Western cybersecurity firms that it supports hacking.

cloudhopper
Russia, North Korea and Iran are the most active in hacking financial institutions, while China is the most active in cyber espionage. Wikimedia Commons

Homeland Security

Homeland Security released the information to support U.S. companies in responding to attacks by the group, which is targeting information technology, energy, health care, communications and manufacturing firms.

“These cyber threat actors are still active and we strongly encourage our partners in government and industry to work together to defend against this threat,” DHS official Christopher Krebs said in a statement.

The reported increase in Chinese hacking follows what cybersecurity firms have described as a lull in such attacks prompted by a 2015 agreement between Chinese President Xi Jinping and former U.S. President Barrack Obama to curb cyber-enabled economic theft.

“I can tell you now unfortunately the Chinese are back,” Dmitri Alperovitch, chief technology officer of U.S. cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, said Tuesday at a security conference in Washington.

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A man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture. VOA

“We’ve seen a huge pickup in activity over the past year and a half. Nowadays they are the most predominant threat actors we see threatening institutions all over this country and Western Europe,” he said.

Analysts with FireEye, another U.S. cybersecurity firm, said that some of the Chinese hacking groups it tracks have become more active in recent months.

Advice to US firms

Wednesday’s alert provided advice on how U.S. firms can prevent, identify and remediate attacks by cloudhopper, which is also known as Red Leaves and APT10.

Cloudhopper
The picture shows a warning sign for “cyber threats ahead”.

The hacking group has largely targeted firms known as managed service providers, which supply telecommunications, technology and other services to business around the globe.

Also Read: Pakistan Fears Economic Turmoil, Re-thinks ‘Silk Road’ Project with China

Managed service providers, or MSPs, are attractive targets because their networks provide routes for hackers to access sensitive systems of their many clients, said Ben Read, a senior intelligence manager with FireEye.

“We’ve seen this group route malware through an MSP network to other targets,” Read said. (VOA)