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    Cyberwar Tag

    TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, is planning to mount a legal and public relations offensive against U.S. President Donald Trump's ban on China-owned social media app. "ByteDance, the Chinese owner of short video hit TikTok, is preparing to escalate its legal and public relations battle against US President Donald Trump’s executive order to ban the app in the United States" Hong Kong based South China Morning Post revealed Monday.

    Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike recently revised a report from December that insisted that the group "Fancy Bear," which has ties to Russian intelligence, used malware to hack into Ukrainian artillery. In the same report, the firm said "Fancy Bear" used the same malware to "hack" into the American election. Well, British think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) found that CrowdStrike "erroneously used IISS data as proof of the intrusion." This also calls into question its findings of meddling in our election.

    Honeypot traps are in the news after the CNN-Buzzfeed Trump-Russia fiasco. What's a honeypot trap? Seriously, haven't you read any spy novels? It when an intelligence agency offers up honey (a girl, boy, whatever) to a target, who then partakes of the honey not knowing the event is being filmed for future blackmail. The trap can be things other than honey (like luring the target into some other financial or criminally compromising position). Having traveled extensively and studied in the Soviet Union, I know that various traps were set even for lowly students.

    We live in very dangerous times, with Democrats trying to flip the Electoral College against Trump through cajoling, and when that fails, threats and intimidation. It still seems unlikely that Democrats will pull it off by Monday, December 19, 2016, when the Electoral College votes. I shudder to think what will happen if Democrats manage to steal the election this way, just as I would have shuddered to think what would have happened in 2008 had Republicans succeeded in stealing the election from Obama using similar tactics. This Coup de Electoral College attempt is premised mostly on assertions that Russia "hacked the election," and that there is new information after the election that could not have been considered by voters. In that theory, the Electoral College must act to protect the nation.

    Anonymous sources and leaks have fueled an unhinged quest to flip the Electoral College against Trump. The narrative has been, depending on which rant you are reading at the moment, that Russia "hacked the election," was unfair because it didn't also release RNC emails, Trump is a really bad hombre who must be stopped at all costs, etc. But tonight the anonymous narrative took a new turn. NBC News reports that Obama administration thought Clinton would win, didn't want to risk potential cyber war with Russia:

    A Legal Insurrection reader who I know to be involved in internet security issues sent me the following explanation of yesterday's attacks that slowed down many major websites. That person asked to keep his name private because of his work position. Here is his explanation sent to clients of the firm he works at: Our entire senior technical team and I have read through the intelligence on the DDOS attack today against DYN. It resulted in massive internet outages on the east coast and eventually the west coast. This was actually several separate escalating attacks.

    I noticed the problem accessing Twitter. Tweets not loading fully, the site timing out. That wouldn't be the first time Twitter has had a hiccup, but it lasted a long time. Here's why, via Gizmodo, Today's Brutal DDoS Attack Is the Beginning of a Bleak Future:
    This morning a ton of websites and services, including Spotify and Twitter, were unreachable because of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on Dyn, a major DNS provider. Details of how the attack happened remain vague, but one thing seems certain. Our internet is frightfully fragile in the face of increasingly sophisticated hacks. Some think the attack was a political conspiracy, like an attempt to take down the internet so that people wouldn’t be able to read the leaked Clinton emails on Wikileaks. Others think it’s the usual Russian assault. No matter who did it, we should expect incidents like this to get worse in the future. While DDoS attacks used to be a pretty weak threat, we’re entering a new era....

    Right in time for Passover as tiny Jewish student communities across Germany were preparing for the Jewish holiday, several University campuses all over the country were hit by a major anti-Semitic cyber-attack. Last week, printers and photo copy machines on college campuses across Germany began spontaneously shooting off flyers filled with anti-Semitic contents. The Spokesperson of Jewish Society at the University of Bonn says, "​Just imagine sitting in your university and suddenly, dozens of anti-Semitic fliers with hate speech fly out of the printer next to you. Your university has usually been a safe place but now you face death threats against you, your family, and your friends, and you can't do anything to stop the attack. On top of that, you find out that your school was one of several in the country that was targeted." Bonn-based German newspaper General Anzeiger reports:

    The Obama Administration issued a federal indictment charging seven Iranian officials with cyber crimes. Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon reports:
    The Obama administration unsealed a federal indictment Thursday charging seven Iranian government-backed hackers with cyber crimes as the result of multiple attacks in recent years on several U.S. banks and a New York dam, according to officials. The indictment accuses the Iranian government and its Revolutionary Guards Corps of orchestrating and conducting a years-long cyber attack on at least 46 U.S. financial institutions and a dam based outside of New York City.

    In early 2014, the Internal Revenue Service launched a new feature on its website referred to as 'Get Transcript.' This feature allowed taxpayers to view and download their transcript, or a document that lists most line items on a tax return and includes accompanying forms and schedules. In May of last year, the IRS announced its Get Transcript feature had been hacked by criminals using taxpayer information that was obtained by different means. At this time, the IRS had determined that a little over 114,000 taxpayers' returns were accessed and the Get Transcript feature was taken offline. By August, the IRS revised the original number to 334,000 breached or targeted tax returns. As of last Friday, however, the IRS added another 390,000 taxpayers to the list, upping the number of accounts effected to over 700,000. Not included in this number are 500,000 accounts the hackers targeted but were unable to obtain.

    With the help of the FBI, British officials arrested a teen they believe may have ties to a series of hacks targeting the U.S. government and high level officials. The 16-year-old was arrested in the East Midlands, U.K. on Tuesday and has been accused of having connections to the hack of CIA Director John Brennan's personal email account in October of last year, along others. The identity of the teen has not been released, but he is believed to be the pro-Palestinian hacker known as "Cracka" that leads the hacktivist group known as "Crackas With Attitude," or CWA. Officials with the Thames Valley Police confirmed the arrest in a statement, saying that it had arrested a 16-year-old boy, "on suspicion of conspiracy to commit unauthorised access to computer material contrary to Section 1 Computer Misuse Act 1990, conspiracy to commit Unauthorised access with intent to commit further offenses contrary to Section 2 Computer Misuse Act 1990 and conspiracy to commit unauthorised acts with intent to impair, or with recklessness as to impairing operation of a computer contrary to Section 3 Computer Misuse Act 1990."

    Following through with a threat made last week, a group of hackers released data pertaining to as many as 30,000 federal government employees. Hacktivists released the information in two waves via a Twitter account by the name of @DotGovs. The data was posted on the encrypted text-sharing website by the name of Cryptobank. The first release took place place shortly after kickoff on Super Bowl Sunday and included a directory of names, job titles, and contact information of 9,355 employees of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The second directory was released on Monday and contained subsequent information on 20,000 employees of the FBI. This is more than half of FBI personnel. Tweets from the @DotGovs account were filled with pro-Palestine hashtags. One tweet was directed towards the U. S., saying the hackers would not stop "until they cut relations with Israel."

    A security breach discovered at a California-based software and hardware company has many officials worried, including U.S. Congressman Will Hurd of Texas. Rep. Hurd expressed his concerns over the breach in a Wall Street Journal op-ed explaining that foreign hackers may "have been reading the encrypted communications of U.S. government agencies for the past three years." Juniper Networks provides network equipment and routers to the U.S. government that are believed to be used by the Defense Department, FBI, Justice Department, and Treasury Department.

    China has been a global hub for manufacturing counterfeit electronics and consumer goods, but as the Asian giant asserts its dominance in the Asian Pacific and beyond, its defense establishment is using the same approach to modernise its vast armed forces.  Despite its large standing and reserve army, Chinese Armed Forces technologically lags behind US, Russian and NATO forces. China has decided to manufacture ‘counterfeit’ high-end defense technology on a large scale to overcome its existing strategic weakness. According to a recent report published by the US Naval Institute, China is using military espionage and reverse engineering to build a modern army with “cloned weapons.” Using cyber espionage and by making secret deals with US arms buyers, China has managed to obtain advance US weapons technology. China is reportedly also targeting Russia in its quest for high-end military technology. The Chinese often buy single units of Russian advanced military systems on a “trial” basis and reverse-engineer the weaponry to produce a large-scale Chinese version:
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