Snowden and the OPM Government Hack, Does 1+1 = Traitor?

snowden and putin

I have talked to several current and former government employees and this has been on my mind a lot today, so I thought I would throw it out there. Could Snowden’s intelligence files cracked by China and Russia be directly related to the OPM government hack?

Though many see Snowden as a privacy rights hero, in my mind he is firmly in the traitor column. Granted he exposed the depth of NSA spying on American citizens, but is that enough to ignore everything else he has done? Has there been any other time in the history of the US that a member of an intelligence agency fled to (China and then) Russia for asylum, taking with them almost 2 million secret documents, leaked other classified information that put US & allied tactics at risk and not been considered a traitor?

The encrypted files that Snowden took with him that he arrogantly considered “uncrackable” have, according to the Sunday Times, been cracked by both the Russians and Chinese. And the information in these files have forced the British MI6 to “pull agents out of live operations in hostile countries”.

But the issues isn’t that they just needed to remove agents from countries. According to BBC political correspondent Chris Mason, “the problem for UK authorities was not only the direct consequence that agents had been moved, but also the opportunity cost of those agents no longer being in locations where they were doing useful work“.

Basically these agents were “outed”. Their lives could have been at risk and it may even be hard to get replacement agents back into certain positions to restore the human intelligence links that were destroyed by Snowden’s “indiscretion”.

What has the effect of this been on the US? I wonder how the Chinese know to hack Anthem earlier this year that provided health insurance for many Federal Employees? And how is it that reportedly the exact same Chinese group hacked the OPM and recovered millions of government employees records including the very sensitive SF-86 security clearance forms?

Granted the OPM systems should have been better secured, as they monitored the Anthem hack earlier this year. An agency spokesman told Nextgov,OPM is closely monitoring the situation. Anthem informed OPM that it shut down the network in question and is working to ensure the security of its systems as it investigates the extent of the breach.”

Is Snowden to blame? As all the documents are classified we may never know. But if the Anthem and OPM hack can be traced back to the files stolen by Snowden, hopefully then the general public will see him as his actions seem to portray him.

 

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Watching Chinese Cyber Attacks against US as they Happen

Cyber Attack 4

I just happened to be up very early this morning and caught some of the chatter on Twitter about massive incoming cyber attacks against the US. So I pulled up the Live Attack map from Norse to check it out and saw the amazing image above.

From what I have seen, usually America and China are fairly even in the attack origins category.  But this morning there just seemed to be a flood of attacks from China being recorded by the Norse honeypot systems in St. Louis.

Stunning that the image just represents a fraction of real world attacks that are happening at any moment.

 

 

China Demos Hacker obtained Stealth Tech during Obama Visit

During the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Beijing, President Obama took China to task about its cyber espionage campaign against Western technology creators and innovators. And China responded by showing off the fruit of their hacker’s labor by test flying the J-31 Stealth Fighter prototype.

The J-31 (seen above) and China’s other stealth fighter, the J-20, both allegedly contain stealth technology stolen from US military contractors. Adding insult to injury, China plans on exporting the stealth fighter to nations that can not afford the American F-35.

Electronic espionage has allowed China to make very rapid advances in military & research fields and they show no sign of slowing down amidst political pressure. If anything they are expanding their attempts at an alarming rate.

As we haven’t had a lot of luck keeping Chinese hackers out of US systems, maybe it is time to create fake honeypot systems for them to attack that contain purposely flawed military designs…

Community Health Systems Hacked – 4.5 Million Records Stolen

Medical Recrods Hacked

Chinese hackers seem to be at it again. This time hitting Community Health Systems, a large US medical group that runs over 200 hospitals in 29 states. According to reports from Foxnews, the attackers were able to steal 4.5 million records.

A filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission stated that computer security company Mandiant assisted in the forensics investigation and “believe the attacker was an “Advanced Persistent Threat” group originating from China who used highly sophisticated malware and technology to attack the Company’s systems.

According to the filing the data was “non-medical patient identification data” and did not include “patient credit card, medical or clinical information“. The company is notifying the affected patients and apparently offering them identity theft protection services.

As financial information was not recovered, the information would most likely be used in further social engineering type attacks – for example, using the information gained to attempt to access patients accounts or data from other companies or websites.

For those interested in learning more about Mandiant and their research of Chinese APT attacks, check out their “APT1: Exposing One of China’s Cyber Espionage Units” intelligence center report.