Possible red team LulzSec hacks CIA.gov giving even more support for internet crackdowns
By End the Lie
As I previously reported, the anonymous hacker collective known as LulzSecurity has been carrying out hacks that play perfectly into the hands of those in Washington who seek to eliminate internet freedom and dissent.
In the article linked above I covered their “just for kicks” hack of the Senate.gov website. I hypothesize that this is a government “red team” or “red cell” operation, aimed at building support for government intervention into internet security from both the public and private sectors.
While this is obviously pure conjecture on my part, I think there is some sound logical basis upon which we can come to this conclusion.
Please read the above linked article in which I go over some of these points, the most glaring of which is that LulzSec knows full well that the Pentagon is treating any cyberattack on governmental infrastructure as an act of war and that this will give more credence to the idea of a controlled internet than any other event.
If this group was a true “hacktivist” group, I cannot understand how they would do such a thing without realizing the implications it will have for every person on the internet, even those like myself who are not hackers but value our internet privacy and the ability to freely distribute information and opinions.
Today’s attack consisted of a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack upon the CIA.gov website, making it non-responsive. The news was released via the group’s Twitter which read, “Tango down—cia.gov—for the lulz.” The government website was back online in roughly one hour.
This claim has not been verified by the CIA, as a spokesman would only say that they were looking into the matter.
The group has also revealed on their Twitter that they have set up a telephone line which is accepting requests for hacking targets.
For those aware of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the power given to the FBI and NSA among other agencies, this is nothing short of absurd. If LulzSec were a real hacking group that was threatening highly sensitive government infrastructure, like CIA networks, the telephone line would be brought down instantly. Even if it was a web-based telephone service, all the Feds would have to do is call the person providing the VoIP protocol and the line would be cut.
While these hackers are clearly skilled enough to keep themselves highly anonymous online, likely through a massive system of BotNets or global VPNs, they do not have the power to have an accessible telephone line, either digital or physical, that the Feds could not touch. The notion of an informal, disorganized hacking group being able to outwit the entire Federal Government is a bit of a leap for me to take at this point.
Logical problems aside, the timing of these hacks is far too convenient for those in Washington seeking to take full control over the internet.
Similarly, the providence of the LulzSecurity group, and their website, is questionable. In a PasteBin posted 11 days ago, it was revealed that the owner of the LulzSec domain was Adrian Lamo, the man supposedly responsible for outing Bradley Manning.
Daily Tech makes a very valid point on the matter, one which I must address in fairness. At the end of the article they point out that the level of security at which most networks operate is lackluster at best.
Major companies are usually a lot less secure than they think they are, unless they have hired on a cybersecurity consultant that is actually a hacker and knows how to truly harden servers and network infrastructure.
This is exactly what the government does through plea deals and threats of jail time, which makes me again question how exactly LulzSec could get away with all of these hacks on government infrastructure without leaving any breadcrumbs for the government’s hackers to follow.
If we assume that the group is being coordinated by a government red team, this entire thing makes a lot more sense. It also would explain the frivolous nature of their hacks on government systems in which they do not actually accomplish anything meaningful other than giving some great talking points for bureaucrats on Capitol Hill.
Again, this is pure conjecture on my part, although I think if you take a moment to consider the events and the logic behind them, along with the government’s response (or lack thereof) this seems to be more like a red team operation than a random anonymous group of hackers doing it “for the lulz.”