Phones on Drones all set to Hack Wireless Printers

If you think, your office is secured because it’s on the top floor of a skyscraper building, then you may need to rethink as in this day and age, pretty much nothing is unhackable—not even office printers locked at the top floor.

Yes! A group of security researchers from Singapore has built a drone that along with a smartphone and custom applications can be used to automatically steal documents from printers with open Wi-Fi connections. The technology was developed by researchers from iTrust, a cyber security research center at the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

The researchers used a standard drone from a Chinese firm, DJI and used it to transport a Samsung Smartphone to an area where a wireless network with wireless printer was located. 

The researchers used two applications that they developed:

▬The first app establishes a bogus access point once the open wireless printer is detected.  The access point mimics the printer and tricks computers in the internal wireless network to send sensitive documents to it.

▬The second app is Cyber security Patrol, which is designed to scan the air searching for open Wi-Fi printers and automatically notify the organization’s IT department. This app has been designed to improve the security of the target organization. It looks for unsecured printers in the target organization accessible via the drone, but rather launching the attack, it took photos of the compromised printers and reports it to the internal staff.

Once a document is intercepted, the app can send it to an attacker’s Dropbox account using the phone’s 3G or 4G connection, and also send it on to the real printer so a victim wouldn’t notice the hack.

The attack zone is limited to 26 meters in radius. But with dedicated hardware, an attacker could generate a stronger signal which can extend that range further. Any computer inside the attack zone will opt to connect to the fake printer over the real one, even if the real printer is closer in proximity to the rogue one.

A drone hovering outside an office building would be obviously spotted, but the goal of the project intended to help companies so that they could be taught how easily accessible Wi-fi printers can be which can be stolen by hackers to steal data or get into their networks.

The project was part of a government-sponsored cyber security defense project.

Student researchers Jinghui Toh and Hatib Muhammad developed the method under the guidance of Professor Yuval Elovici of Department of Information Systems Engineering at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

The system targets wireless printers because wireless printers are supplied with the Wi-Fi connection open by default, and many companies forget to close this hole when they add the device to their Wi-Fi networks. This open connection potentially provides an access point for outsiders to connect to a network and steal a company’s sensitive data.

The researchers also demonstrated that the attack could also be carried out by hiding a cellphone inside an autonomous vaccum cleaner, after which the device will continuously scan for organisation’s networks for printers with unsecured connections.

The project conducted by the researchers demonstrated once again the close link between physical and logical security. 

Any person can simply install the Cybersecurity Patrol app on a smartphone and attach it to a drone to and send it upwards. Though the same method can be used by organizations to check for unsecured printers and other wireless devices.

It’s true that every invention and development comes with both pros and cons but if the cons have greater risk, then it’s time to approach physical security in a different way.

Negligence of Experian puts T mobile’s 15 million records at stake

Third biggest mobile company in U.S, T mobile’s CEO, John Legere is angry again and for a very obvious reason as this time highly personal records of some 15 million users have been leaked through one of the largest credit agency data brokers in the world, Experian.

The information exposed names, addresses, and social security, driver’s license and passport numbers of the customers. The license and passport numbers were in an encrypted field, but Experian said that encryption may also have been compromised.

The massive security breach was first discovered on September 15, 2015 which impacted customers who registered for T mobile between September 01, 2013 and September 16, 2015.

Legere broke the sad news in a post on the company's website which displayed his frustration over the incident.

The post read as below:
“Obviously I am incredibly angry about this data breach and we will institute a thorough review of our relationship with Experian."

Experian took immediate action upon finding the breach. It secured the server, initiated a comprehensive investigation and notified U.S. and international law enforcement.

In the most obvious manner in which the companies react on their security being breached; Experian too is offering those impacted by the break-in two years of free credit monitoring and identity theft resolution services.

There have been a series of high-profile hacks of businesses and other organisations in recent years impacting millions and sometimes tens of millions of records, including adultery website Ashley Madison, Sony Pictures, and retailers such as Home Depot, Target, and eBay.

Theft of personnel records from the U.S. government this year, a 2014 breach on JPMorgan Chase and a 2013 attack on Target Corp's cash register systems were also some of them.

The irony is that a company which handles the personal information of many Americans had not been able to protect the information of customers who applied for T mobile services.
It is the second massive breach linked to Experian.

An attack on the company's subsidiary happened in 2012 which exposed the Social Security numbers of 200 million Americans and prompted an investigation by at least four states, including Connecticut.
Though the security breach will adversely affect both the companies but T Mobile is trying to put all the blame on Experian.
In one o it’s FAQ , it read-

“Experian has taken full responsibility for the theft of data from its server.”
Both the companies had made it clear that no credit card or banking data was exposed. Yet, the hoard of T-Mobile customer data can still be used for assembling profiles for identity theft.

If consumers can’t pressure data aggregators like Experian into securing their secrets, perhaps the consumer-facing companies who collect that information can.

It’s an Indo-Pak Cyberspace WAR!

On Sunday morning, India’s southern Kerala state woke up to the news of the state government’s official website ( being hacked by Pakistani hackers, who posted image of a burning Indian flag.
The hackers had left messages such as "Pakistan Zindabad", "We are Team Pak Cyber Attacker" and "Security is just an illusion". The page also carried the identity of the hacker; “hacked” by Faisal 1337”. The Home Page also contained the website address www(dot)Faisal1337(dot)com.

However, preliminary reports suggested the hackers were could not get past the home page and into the server hosting this website.

This news spread like fire over social media and the issue instead of being a government website being hacked turned into being an attack on India by the neighbouring country. But few expected that within a span of few hours an Indian hacking group with the name of “The Mallu Cyber Soldiers” will payback the favour.
The Indian hacking group had hacked over 100 official websites of Pakistani government and posted message on their websites- “Better stay away from Indian Cyber Space”.

They also posted a message on their facebook page.

" !!Message to Script Kiddies of Pakistan ....Do not touch Indian Websites !!! Now your 46 Pakistan government websites got crashed and 4 educational websites got defaced This is a small payback for hacking "

They also posted a list of websites which were crashed. Few included Pakistan’s government website, and

But the war did not cyber war did not there. In the same message, the group ‘Hell Shield Hackers’ stated that the motive behind this attack was to retaliate against the attack on the Kerala government’s website.
Often gunfire exchanges across the border seem to take place. During the cricket matches also between the two countries, the rivalry of the two nations are frequently seen but now a full-blown hacking and defacement war seems to have simultaneously erupted in cyber space.

This is not the first time that the hacking has taken place between the two nations.

In October 2014, a Malayali actor and producer, Mohanlal Viswanathan Nair’s  website was hacked by a group known as Cyber Warriors, who had posted several "Free Kashmir slogans" and warned Indian Army about their activities in the Kashmir valley.

The Government from both the nations have nothing to do with it.

Hacking the government sites exposes the vulnerability of official websites.

Though it was just a defacement and officials told that the server of Kerala Government’s website is safe. Yet, the incident calls for a better cyber security mechanism.

The Indian public sees this retaliation as ‘revenge’. However, it’s an issue much more than patriotism.
 Hackers mostly target large organisations, government or community websites which store personal information of thousands or millions of users.

While the Modi government talks about digitizing India, incidents like these highlight the importance for improved cyber security which comes foremost and is a much important issue before the digitization of the country.

While the USA and China are entering into a cyber security agreement, the Indo Pak cyber hack games continue unabated which exposes the weak cyber security of both the nations.

Apple cleaning up iOS App Store after first major attack

A news report published in Reuters confirmed that after several cyber security firms reported a malicious iPhone and iPad program that attack on the popular mobile software outlet and was embedded in hundreds of legitimate apps, Apple Inc APPL.O on Sunday said it was cleaning up its iOS App Store to remove the malicious program dubbed XcodeGhost.

According to cyber security firm Palo Alto Networks Inc (PANW.N), it is the first reported case of large numbers of malicious software programs making their way past Apple's stringent app review process. Prior to this attack, only five malicious apps had ever been found in the App Store.

Then, the malicious code was embedded in the apps by convincing developers of legitimate software to use a tainted, counterfeit version of Apple's software for creating iOS and Mac apps, which is known as Xcode.

Researchers said infected apps included Tencent Holdings Ltd's (0700.HK) popular mobile chat app WeChat, car-hailing app Didi Kuaidi and a music app from Internet portal NetEase Inc.

Tencent said on its official WeChat blog that the security flaw affects WeChat 6.2.5, an old version of its popular chatting app, and that newer versions were unaffected. A preliminary investigation showed there had been no data theft or leakage of user information, the company said.

Chinese security firm Qihoo360 Technology Co (QIHU.N) said on its blog that it had uncovered 344 apps tainted with XcodeGhost.

"We've removed the apps from the App Store that we know have been created with this counterfeit software," Apple spokeswoman Christine Monaghan said in an email. "We are working with the developers to make sure they’re using the proper version of Xcode to rebuild their apps."
However, it was not clear that what steps iPhone and iPad users could take to determine whether their devices were infected.

Ryan Olson, director of threat intelligence at Palo Alto Networks, told Reuters that the malware had limited functionality and his firm had uncovered no examples of data theft or other harm as a result of the attack.

ReverbNation data breached

ReverbNation, an online platform for musician, has just informed their customer about the data breach. The incident had happened in January 2014, but law enforcement has informed them  recently.

According to the law enforcement, an individual had illegally gained unauthorized access to ReverbNation’s vendor’s computer systems and accessed user’s information in database.

In an email to customers, ReverbNation explained that, “While no credit card data was accessed, some user information included in the database such as e-mail addresses and encrypted passwords, and possibly other user information users provided to us, such as names, addresses, phone numbers, and/or dates of birth may have been accessed.”

Although passwords are encrypted but for precautionary measure they suggested customers to change their ReverbNation password as well as password of any other account or website which share your same ReverbNation password. They also recommended password management tools like 1Password and LastPass.

Lizard Squad disrupt National Crime Agency website

The website of National Crime Agency (NCA), a national law enforcement agency in the United Kingdom which replaced the Serious Organised Crime Agency, was temporarily down on Tuesday morning by attackers.

According to a news report published in The Guardian, the attackers did this as a revenge for arrests made last week. Four days ago before the attack, six teenagers were released on bail on suspicion of using hacking group Lizard Squad’s cyber-attack tool to target websites and services.

They arrests were in an operation codenamed Vivarium, coordinated by the NCA and involving 
officers from several police forces.

Those who were arrested: an 18-year-old from Huddersfield; an 18-year-old from Manchester; a 16-year-old from Northampton; and a 15-year-old from Stockport, were arrested last week, while two other suspects, both 17, were arrested earlier this year, one from Cardiff and another from Northolt, north-west London.

However, all of them have been bailed, while a further two 18-year-olds – one from Manchester and one from Milton Keynes – were interviewed under caution.

“The six suspects are accused of using Lizard Stresser, a tool that bombards websites and services with bogus traffic, to attack a national newspaper, a school, gaming companies and a number of online retailers,” the report reads.

The NCA spokesperson told The Guardian that the NCA website is an attractive target. Attacks on it are a fact of life. DDoS is a blunt form of attack which takes volume and not skill. It isn’t a security breach, and it doesn’t affect our operational capability.

“At worst it is a temporary inconvenience to users of our website. We have a duty to balance the value of keeping our website accessible with the cost of doing so, especially in the face of a threat which can scale up endlessly. The measures we have in place at present mean that our site is generally up and running again within 30 minutes, though occasionally it can take longer. We think that’s proportionate,” he added.

$376,000 for Informer in Ashley Madison hacking case

Avid Life Media (ALM), parent company of Ashely Madison,  is offering a $500,000 (Canadian dollars) as a prize money for any information related to the “identification, arrest and prosecution” of those hackers,who all were responsible in recent hack of the website.

Avid Life Media confirmed that the data Impact Life stole is legit.

The legal investigation has been started. With the help of Toronto police department and “white hat “hackers, they are hoping to find the perpetrators.

During press conference, acting superintendent Bryce Evans said that hackers have "certain techniques to help us and assist us.” He also said that they would lean on its “good working relationship” with the US Security agency FBI and Homeland Security.

The Toronto police and AML motivated to find the hackers responsible for data breach, Evans  referred to  two suicides that appears to be reason related to the Ashley Madison breach, "spin-off crimes and further victimization" from people accessing the hacked data.

$500,000 canadian dollar accounts for $376,000 US dollars.

"Cyber of Emotion" hacks saudi websites

(PC- google images)
Many Saudi websites were hacked by a group that gave warnings that they would be making the attacks.The group known as “Cyber of Emotion” hacked more than 24 government websites over a period of two hours.

As reported by Al-Riyadh newspaper, the visitors to the website were directed to a page that read- “We do not want to harm the site. Had it been hacked by enemies, your personal information, emails and registration data would have been compromised."

The hackers said that their team had already warned their administrators that the websites are not properly secured and they should do something about it, but, the warnings were ignored, they claim.

The newspaper reported that the websites hacked included that of government hospitals, municipalities, education departments, social development offices and health departments.

The websites, however, started working properly a few hours after the attack.

Last year, the twitter account of Ministry of Justice was hacked by the same group.

Karnataka State Higher Education Council’s website hacked

The  Karnataka State Higher Education Council’s ( website was hacked by Clinkz4, a group of hackers, on 20 August.

From late Thursday till Friday afternoon the website was non-functional. In the middle of the homepage it  displayed a caricature of a laughing man holding wine and the words “CYBER TEAM ROCKS” and “Hacked by Clinkz48”, and in the end it reads “Your data belongs to me. F*** Your System India, :P Noob!!"

According to the data released by the  National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Bangaluru has the highest number of cyber crimes among 53 cities.

The statistic showed that 657 cases were reported in Bengaluru, while 386 in Hyderabad, 317 in Jaipur, and 205 in Lucknow, under the IT Act 2000.

"We will register a police complaint. The National Informatics Centre has fixed the website. We will take safety measures to prevent hacking of our website (in future) and also suggest the same to other departments," said Bharath Lal Meena, principal secretary, higher education department.

‘City of Henderson hacked, no personal data compromised’

A report published in Review Journal has confirmed that the city of Henderson has spent $40,000 to make sure that hackers, who had gained access to its Web server for nine days, hadn’t got access to the government systems. Along with it, the city has decided to launch a law-enforcement investigation.

However, the city has yet to make any public announcement about the data breach.

The city has confirmed with the Review Journal that the hackers were not being able to steal any personal or sensitive information. They only got to see the raw versions of public data that are already searchable through Web forms.

All the Henderson employees were told to change their passwords.

"This is the first time since I've been here, and the first time I'm aware of, that we actually have somebody who got this far," said Laura Fucci, the city's chief information officer, who has been with Henderson since late 2012, told Review Journal.

According to the report, the city had detected the hack on June 29 when a system administrator noticed errors in a "tool" that monitors anonymous activity. Realizing there had been an intrusion, the administrator disabled the server, and the city started trying to determine how far the hacker had gotten.

Fucci declined to discuss how the attacker gained access beyond saying "hacking tools" were used. She said the city quickly decided to hire an outside company to investigate the breach and make sure it had been contained.

The city detention center is offline for more than six weeks. It goes online once the city gets it confirmed   that it is safe.

Today, the website reads, "Inmate Information is temporarily unavailable at this time. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience. Please call 702-267-JAIL (5245) for more information."

Carphone Warehouse hacked, personal details of 2.4 million customers stolen

Carphone Warehouse, a British mobile phone retailer, with over 2,400 stores across Europe, has confirmed that its systems had been attacked by hackers during which personal details, which include  bank details, addresses, names and dates of birth, of its 2.4 million customers had been compromised.  

According to a news report published in The Independent, as per a statement from the firm the IT network of one of the firm’s online divisions, was the victim of a “sophisticated cyber-attack” within the last two weeks.

The company also said that 90,000 customers’ credit card details may have been accessed by the hackers.

After the attack, the company sent emails to the customers who may be affected by the cyber-attack asking them to their bank and check for any suspicious activity on their account.

"We take the security of customer data extremely seriously, and we are very sorry that people have been affected by this attack on our systems," Sebastian James, group chief executive of Dixons Carphone, said in a statement.

He added, “We are, of course, informing anyone that may have been affected, and have put in place additional security measures"

The news report said that the Carphone Warehouse, which is owned by Dixons Carphone following a £3.7bn merger, also incorporated Currys and PC World, but the parent firm said that majority of Carphone Warehouse data and that of Currys and PC World is held on separate systems and was not compromised during the attack.

ICANN hacked again, users need to reset their password

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), has confirmed that an unauthorized person obtained its account holders’ usernames, email addresses and encrypted passwords for profile accounts created on its public website ( last week.

This is not the first time that the company's website got hacked.

According to a news report published in ZeeSome ten months ago, the company’s website had been hacked by hackers, who accessed its internal system following a spear phishing attack in November, 2014.

The company posted in its website on August 5 that these profile accounts contained user preferences for the website, public bios, interests, newsletter subscriptions, etc.

It is said that the encrypted passwords (hashes) are not easy to reverse however, for the users safety the company has urged all its users to reset their passwords.

“When you next visit our site, please go to the login page and click the forgot password link: to create your new password,” the company explained.

“There is no evidence that any profile accounts were accessed or that any internal ICANN systems were accessed without authorization,” the post read. While investigations are ongoing, the encrypted passwords appear to have been obtained as a result of unauthorized access to an external service provider.”

Antivirus software maker Bitdefender hacked, customers data leaked

It has been proved that no one is safe here from hackers. Even the security firms, which are supposed to protect us, get hacked.

Recently, an award-winning antivirus software maker and security software company has been hacked.

As per news reports, Bitdefender customers’ usernames and passwords leaked during the attack. It has confirmed that its system was breached following rumors that someone was holding the Romanian firm to ransom. The company has failed to encrypt its customers’ login details.

After getting into the company’s information, the crooks demanded $15,000 in order to keep its customers’ details safe.

They threatened the company that they would reveal the swiped customer records. However, it is said that they have put some information online.

The company has informed that the issue has been solved and additional security measures have been taken to prevent its customers from hacking.

A password reset notice was sent to all potentially affected customers, representing less than 1 per cent of our SMB customers.

“This does not affect our consumer or enterprise customers. Our investigation revealed no other server or services were impacted. Bitdefender takes security of its customers very seriously and any issue that might involve the security of our customers or the security of our servers is treated with the utmost urgency and seriousness,” the company explained.

Moonpig hacked, Emial IDs, passwords compromised

The online personalized card company, Moonpig, has blocked an unspecified number of accounts of customers after users’ details were published online.

According to the company’s website, customers’ email addresses, passwords and account balance had been made public. However, they stress that the source of passwords was not their site, but from other online sites where users use similar passwords.

“As a precautionary measure, we promptly closed our Moonpig site and apps to help us investigate and contain this issue. Following these investigations, we now have strong evidence that the customer email addresses and passwords we identified were taken previously from other third party websites, and not directly from"

"This data was then used to access the account balances of some of our customers. As a reminder, we do not store full credit card information ourselves so this data was not accessible in any event.”

Moonpig  has contacted affected customers, and advised  them to  reset their passwords and ensure that they are not reusing the same passwords anywhere else on the net

United States Census Bureau hacked by Anonymous hacktivists

A group of cyber activists who refer to themselves as 'Anonymous' have taken full credit for a cyber attack on a US Government website, which has led to a leak of several employee data.

Anonymous has taken credit for hacking the United States Census Bureau website and have published the data which includes names, telephone numbers, email addresses, addresses and the ranks of employees within the US Government. The breached and published data also consists of the much difficult but yet not impossible to crack password hashes.

Anonymous claims that the reason behind the hack is the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership which stands Numero Uno in the list of priorities for the American administration and claim a progressive reform in the politico-economic platform of the nation, by creating an alliance with the major Atlantic and Pacific nations. Despite of the numerous opposition the twin pact has gathered in this short period of time, Anonymous is the only group that has raised its opposition vocally.

However, the data breach is not one the most feared activities that the government could with at the moment, such as a massive data breach in the Office of Personnel Management; it is nonetheless embarrassing.

The US Census Bureau, in an emailed statement has confirmed the data breach and that a investigation has been initiated by the IT forensics team. The bureau spokesperson has launched a statement that none of the stolen data 'confidential'.

Now a more lucid investigation can only tell if the data that is being published online is a federal threat or not.

British man arrested for allegedly hacking US government networks

Lauri Love, a 30 year old resident of Suffolk has been arrested for allegedly hacking classified networks of the US government.

Mr. Love is accused of hacking Department of Energy, the Federal Reserve, Nasa, the Environmental Protection Agency, the US Army and the US Missile Defense Agency.

The US government has put in an extradition request for Love, who has currently been released on bail. He will undergo an extradition hearing in September.

This is the second time Love has been arrested, his first being in October 2013. The Us government had not sought an extradition request at that time.

The need of infidelity takes a twist on the privacy front

The very popular website among infidels, has faced a huge data breach of user data, that has created a chaos amongst the users as well as the service provider who are being threatened by the hackers to release the information.

The breach was first reported by a blogger, Brian Krebs, who wrote that the main objective of the hackers was to break into the servers to get hold of the customer information, which could be used to threaten the web site to shut down.

The 'Impact Team' as the hackers are referring themselves, have got hold of information that contains profiles of the customers', secret sexual fantasies, credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails.

Ashley Madison boasts of having 37 million users, who have been attracted to their motto 'Life is Short, Have an Affair'. Now, all the data is threatened to be exposed and the customers are not sure if their decision of having an online extramarital affair was foolproof enough.

Impact team has taken this step after geting upset about the web site's full delete service, that promises to remove every information of the customer on the server for a $19 one-time fee. This feature bagged up $1.7 million back in 2014, however the outcomes were not satisfactory. This was because the users who wanted access to the service were using their credit card to conduct the transaction, thus leaving behind the purchase information including the names and addresses.

The company finally spoke up about the breach and defended the full-delete service by announcing the service to turn free, on Monday afternoon. They have also hired the world's top IT security firm to investigate the breach.

A similar event took place in March, when the dating site was hacked and vital information was stolen.

So, is it actually viable to provide your personal information that includes sexual priorities and fetishes to dating sites, when the risk of data breach is so legitimate?

NIS official, alleged of operating a hacking software, killed himself

A 45-year-old official of National Intelligence Service (NIS), who was in the charge of implementing and operating a hacking software developed by Hacking team dubbed Remote Control System (RCS), killed himself on July 18, according to a report on ABC.

As per the news report, the man was found dead in his car on a mountain road in Yongin, about 40 kilometres south of Seoul.

According to his suicide note, which was released by the police, the agent, identified only by his surname Lim, deleted relevant records on the NIS computer network before committing suicide

According to police, the man committed suicide after writing a handwritten note in his car giving details of how the NIS had used a controversial hacking software.

Lim wrote in the suicide note that he had insisted the NIS had not spied on South Koreans and apologized for deleting files relating to the software.

"There was no monitoring of people at home. I deleted information that created misunderstandings about our counter-terrorism and covert operations on North Korea ... It was a mistake on my part. But there is nothing to be worried about over any of my actions," he said.

Although, the government and NIS officials have admitted purchasing the software from the Hacking Team, they claimed that it was only used to boost Seoul's cyber warfare capabilities against Pyongyang and not for any domestic monitoring.

“Lee Chul-woo, a ruling party legislator who heads a parliamentary intelligence committee, said Mr Lim had purchased and run the hacking software, which allows users to track smartphones and computers by installing spyware,” the news report read.

Epic Games shut down its website after a hack

Epic Games,  an American video game development company based in Cary, North Carolina, now associate of Chinese Tencent Holdings, has taken down its website after they had discovered it's forums ( were “compromised by a hacker”.

The company is now sending emails to its Epic Games Forum members informing them about that of their forums have been taken offline. 

“We are sorry to report that the incident may have resulted in unauthorized access to your username, email address, password, and the date of birth you provided at registration,” the email reads.

The company has said that there is a possibility of any information stored or sent by its users’ using the forums may have been accessed.

However, the company has not collected or maintained any financial information. It has advised its user to be alert for suspicious email such as phishing attempts.

It has said that when the site reopens, the forum member’s password will be reset.

“If you use the same password on this site which you use on other sites, we recommend immediately changing your password on those sites as well,” the email explained.

It is said that the affected forum site covers UDK, Infinity Blade, Gears of War, Bulletstorm, and prior Unreal Tournament games but the separate forum sites covering Unreal Engine 4, Fortnite, and the new Unreal Tournament were not affected.

“To further understand what’s happened and prevent it in the future, we’re working with a computer security firm to identify the nature of the compromise. We will report further information on the forums when they reopen,” the company explained in the mail.

Edinburgh Council cyber attack, details of more than 13,000 stolen

For the second time in five years, Edinburgh City Council has been hacked again. More than 13,000 email addresses were stolen from the counsel’s database after a “malicious cyber attack” on 26 June.

A spokesman of the council said, “This was a malicious cyber attack on the council’s website which is hosted in a UK data centre. It was dealt with swiftly and at no point were any council services affected.”

“We want to reassure the public the ongoing security of our website is critically important,” he added.

According to a news report published on Edinburgh Evening News, cyber security experts have warned local authorities “don’t stand a chance” against hackers.

“The attack is believed to have taken place on Friday, June 26, with council officials alerted by its data centre provider. No details have been released regarding the source of the attack, which targeted 
the council’s website service provider,” the report read.

The Information Commissioner has been informed of the incident, as has the UK government’s computer emergency response team, which monitors incidents of hacking against the public sector.

The council is now contacting 13,134 individuals who have had their details stolen. Similarly, the city’s director of corporate governance, Alastair Maclean, has been asking them to change any passwords used to access the council’s website.

Napier University cyber security expert Professor Bill Buchanan warned that hackers would be likely to try to use the data in “phishing” scams, which attempt to con victims out of sensitive information like bank details and passwords using bogus e-mails.

“Data like this is worth a lot. It is really quite sloppy to lose that information. Without a doubt, in this case, the intruders could link e-mails to the council in some way. A targeted phishing e-mail could say, in regards to a parking ticket, ‘You contacted us in May, please could you click on this link and give your details. G-mail addresses in particular are quite sensitive because they tend to be the core of your online identity. If an intruder can get into that address, they can access every single account,” Buchanan added.

In December 2011, the personal information of people who had contacted the council’s debt advice service was taken, with potential victims advised to check bank and credit card statements.