Unsecured Wireless Network Leads to Police SWAT Raid

If you do not properly secure your Wi-Fi network, could people misuse it? We have all heard of people “borrowing” their neighbors Wi-Fi to surf questionable sites and download illegal media and software, but could having an unsecured Wi-Fi access point lead to a SWAT team raiding your house in full combat gear? The answer is (in one case at least) yes!

I have been doing some research for an upcoming Hakin9 article on Wireless security & attacks and ran into this article on Government Computer News, “Don’t get raided by a SWAT team; secure your wireless hub“. Apparently Evansville, Indiana resident Stephanie Milan (18) and her boyfriend’s unsecured wireless network was used by an unknown suspect to post threatening messages on Topix.com.

But what would cause a fully armed SWAT team to smash out a window, break down the front door, toss in stun grenades and rush the young couples abode while wielding automatic weapons? Maybe it was the subject of the messages. Apparently, along with scarfing free internet access, the subject posted messages threatening police officers and their families.

Not a smart move by the subject.

But was the response too much? “I think it was a show of force that they are not going to tolerate this,” said Ira Milan, Stephanie’s grandfather and long term owner of the property. “To bring a whole SWAT team seems a little excessive.”

City Police Chief Billy Bolin explained, “We have no way of being able to tell that,” and the concerning Internet posts “definitely come back to that address.”. Also the city Mayor said that after reviewing the situation, the use of force was justified.

The suspect is still at large.

After realizing that Stephanie and her boyfriend were not involved, the city has agreed to pay for the damages done. But this goes to show that leaving wireless networks unsecured could lead to some serious problems.

Recent research for the area that I live in shows that almost half of the wireless access points detected were using no, or woefully inadequate security. The results, even after years of security warnings to users and attempts to get manufacturers to use more secure settings as default, were a bit concerning:

13% used no security at all, and another 29% used WEP which has been cracked a long time ago. Only 46% used WPA2 which is the recommended security setting for your wireless network. Almost half of the Wi-Fi networks were vulnerable to attack or mis-use.

So be sure to set your Wi-Fi network to WPA2. And if it does not support WPA2, it is time to get a new Access Point. Also, remember to use a long complex password when securing your AP, as WPA and WPA2 passwords can still be cracked if you use a simple password.

Russian Authorities take down World’s Largest Banking Botnet

Russia’s Ministry of the Interior (MVD) announced on Friday that their special computer crimes “Department K” division took down what could be one of the largest botnets in the world. The botnet encompassed an approximate 6 Million devices with 4.5 million of them being computers.

After a 10 month investigation, Russian authorities arrested a 22 year old Russian who seemed to be the creator of the Botnet:

The operative and investigative activities conducted revealed that the criminal activities were committed by a 22-year-old young man who is widely known in the hacker community under the nicknames of “Germes” and “Arashi”.

The young man was not only developing bot-networks and massively distributing malicious programs but also personally took part in stealing funds from accounts of individuals and legal entities.

The suspect worked together with a group of partners and together stole over 150 Million Rubles ($4.5 Million) using Banking based Botnets:

The criminal’s target was computers with the software “Bank-Client” installed on them. To infest them and further steal funds, he used programs such as Carberp of various modifications. Having obtained logins, passwords and digital signatures in this way, he transferred money allegedly on behalf of citizens and organizations to accounts of shell companies. Further on, the funds were transferred to plastic card accounts and cashed in automated teller machines.

According to the report almost all of the infected devices were located within the Russian Federation.

LulzSec Founder Arrested – Turns in Fellow Hackers

It’s all just for the Lulz, or so LulzSec founder Hector Xavier Monsegur  might have thought. That was until he was faced with 124 years of jail time. He pleaded guilty on August 15th, and apparently has been working with the government ever since turning in fellow group members.

Hector, a 28 year old unemployed computer hacker was caught by using his real IP address once in a chat forum, according to Foxnews. Hackers will use proxy servers or spoof IP addresses to avoid detection and it seems the FBI found the one time that he didn’t.

But apparently FBI agents were shocked to find that the leader of the international group apparently lived off of welfare and didn’t live in the greatest neighborhood.

“Sabu could be making millions of bucks heading the IT security department of a major company, but look at him, he’s impoverished, living off public assistance and was forced between turning on his friends and spending a lifetime in jail.

“It’s sad, really,” a law enforcement officer said.

But it does appear that his co-operation is helping law enforcement track down other members. This week, according to the Los Angeles Times, five hackers with ties to the Anonymous/ LulzSec group were arrested:

Late Monday, Jeremy Hammond, also known in hacking circles as “Anarchaos,” was arrested in Chicago and charged in a criminal complaint with crimes relating to the December 2011 hack of Strategic Forecasting Inc. (Stratfor), a global intelligence firm in Austin, Texas. That hacking could have affected approximately 860,000 people, officials said.

Charged on Tuesday were: Ryan Ackroyd, Jake Davis, Darren Martyn and Donncha O’Cearrbhail. All were charged in connection with various hacks allegedly carried out by Anonymous, Internet Feds or LulzSec.

It’s sad that young professionals are wasting their time and lives for what seems like cyber joy riding. If they would use their skills for good, the electronic world would be a much better place.

AT&T Hackers Funded Pakistan Terrorist Group that Struck India

Four hackers have been arrested in the Philippines that funded a terrorist group possibly linked to the deadly 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. According to a Foxnews article, the Philippine Criminal Investigation and Detection Group working with the FBI arrested the 4 suspects late Thursday. The suspects allegedly stole 2 million from AT&T according to the CIDG.

“The hackers were working on commission for a terrorist group linked to Muhammad Zamir, according to the Philippine police. Zamir, a Pakistani, was arrested in Italy in 2007, where he was running a call center and allegedly buying information from Filipino hackers.”

Though not mentioned by name, the group that allegedly was to receive the stolen funds was the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

A later article today on Reuters.com states that AT&T denies that it was hacked and that it only assisted law enforcement with the investigation:

“AT&T, the No. 2 U.S. mobile provider, said it “ended up writing off some fraudulent charges that appeared on customer bills” but did not comment on the $2 million figure.

“AT&T and its network were neither targeted nor breached by the hackers,” AT&T spokeswoman Jan Rasmussen said. “AT&T only assisted law enforcement in the investigation that led to the arrest of a group of hackers.”

It is alarming how many times Pakistan’s name comes up when terrorism is involved. Not to long ago, Osama Bin Laden was taken out by American special forces in his hideout that was near a Pakistan military base. One has to wonder just how strong an ally they really are in the war against terror.