News you may have missed #679

Salem al-HassiBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►New spy chief in Libya. Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council yesterday appointed a lifelong opponent of slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi as the country’s new intelligence chief. Salem al-Hassi, who was involved in a bid to assassinate Gaddafi in 1984, was appointed as the intelligence chief at a meeting of the council.
►►Anonymous hackers release German classified information. Hackers from the group Anonymous said last week they had accessed classified German files and posted them online, revealing details of the country’s military operations in Afghanistan. The military documents were collected for an inquiry, now finished, into a September 2009 airstrike by US jets under German orders that killed more than 140 Taliban fighters and Afghan civilians. Anonymous said it obtained the data from a server at the Bundestag  (German parliament).
►►Did Chinese espionage lead to F-35 delays? Did Chinese cyber spying cause the United States’ F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s cost spikes and production delays? This is the question being asked by US Pentagon budget officials, according to industry magazine Aviation Week. Chinese spies apparently hacked into secure conference calls and listened to meetings discussing the classified technologies aboard the jets. In particular, China may have stolen info about the F-35’s secure communications and antenna systems, leading to costly software rewrites and other redesigns to compromised parts of the plane.

News you may have missed #654

Aleksandr ShlyakhturovBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►Anonymous hacks intel analysis firm StratFor. The loose-knit hacking movement Anonymous claimed Sunday via Twitter that it had stolen thousands of credit card numbers and other personal information belonging to clients of intelligence analysis firm Stratfor. The company had apparently failed to encrypt its customers’ credit card account information. The hackers announced their intention to use the credit cards for charitable donations.
►►CIA Inspector General clears assistance with NYPD. Back in August, The CIA denied allegations by the Associated Press that it helped the New York Police Department conduct covert surveillance on New York Muslims. The agency said the report “mischaracterized the nature and scope” of the CIA’s support for the NYPD. Now a report by the office of the CIA Inspector General, the CIA’s internal watchdog, has concluded that there was “no evidence that any part of the agency’s support to the NYPD constituted ‘domestic spying’”. The Associated Press notes that it is not clear if this report opens the door for other municipal police departments nationwide to work closely with the CIA in the war on terrorism.
►►Russia replaces head of military spy agency. After denying initial rumors, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Monday that “Major General Igor Sergun has been appointed head of the GRU [Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate] through a Kremlin decree”. Sergun replaces Aleksandr Shlyakhturov, who had spearheaded a shake-up of the service since his appointment in 2009. The state RIA Novosti news agency quoted a ministry spokesman suggesting that Shlyakhturov had reached retirement age. No other reason was given for the move. Incidentally, if you are wondering how spies are faring in Dmitri Medvedev’s and Vladimir Putin’s administration, read this enlightening analysis by Mark Galeotti, Professor of Global Affairs at New York University.

One in four US hackers is FBI informant, says report

2600 magazine

2600 magazine

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org
Experienced observers with strong links in the American computer hacker community estimate that around 25 percent of its members are working as informants for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other US government agencies. This according to an investigative report published in British quality broadsheet The Guardian, which claims that the large numbers of government operatives have spread unprecedented “paranoia and mistrust” inside the US computer hacker underground. According to the report, the authorities have made significant inroads, not by training their officers in hacking skills, but by employing the threat of lengthy prison sentences as a means of convincing captured hackers to turn into government informants. This technique is largely responsible for the creation of an “army of informants” operating “deep inside the hacking community” in the US. An example provided in the report is the infiltration of online forums used by the cybercriminal community as marketplaces for credit card, bank account, and other stolen identity information, which are often traded in bulk around the world. Read more of this post