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'Vigilante Hackers' Strike Routers In Russia and Iran, Reports Motherboard (vice.com) 121

An anonymous reader quotes Motherboard: On Friday, a group of hackers targeted computer infrastructure in Russia and Iran, impacting internet service providers, data centres, and in turn some websites. "We were tired of attacks from government-backed hackers on the United States and other countries," someone in control of an email address left in the note told Motherboard Saturday... "We simply wanted to send a message...." In addition to disabling the equipment, the hackers left a note on affected machines, according to screenshots and photographs shared on social media: "Don't mess with our elections," along with an image of an American flag...

In a blog post Friday, cybersecurity firm Kaspersky said the attack was exploiting a vulnerability in a piece of software called Cisco Smart Install Client. Using computer search engine Shodan, Talos (which is part of Cisco) said in its own blog post on Thursday it found 168,000 systems potentially exposed by the software. Talos also wrote it observed hackers exploiting the vulnerability to target critical infrastructure, and that some of the attacks are believed to be from nation-state actors...

Reuters reported that Iran's IT Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi said the attack mainly impacted Europe, India, and the U.S.... The hackers said they did scan many countries for the vulnerable systems, including the U.K., U.S., and Canada, but only "attacked" Russia and Iran, perhaps referring to the post of an American flag and their message. They claimed to have fixed the Cisco issue on exposed devices in the US and UK "to prevent further attacks... As a result of our efforts, there are almost no vulnerable devices left in many major countries," they claimed in an email.

Their image of the American flag was a black-and-white drawing done with ASCII art.
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'Vigilante Hackers' Strike Routers In Russia and Iran, Reports Motherboard

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  • Undecided (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ensign_Expendable ( 1045224 ) on Saturday April 07, 2018 @07:48PM (#56399439)
    Part of me wants to cheer and the other part says things like this aren't helping.
    • Re:Undecided (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday April 07, 2018 @08:23PM (#56399559)

      Part of me wants to cheer and the other part says things like this aren't helping.

      The second part of you is correct. These actions are counter-productive. Russia and Iran both have closed paranoid cultures that play up their victimhood at the hands of the West. But that belief is not monolithic, and there are factions in both countries that want more openness, tolerance, and trust in the international system. These vigilante actions weaken these people while strengthening the paranoid hardliners.

      In fact, these actions play so smoothly into the hands of the hardliners, that we shouldn't dismiss the possibility that it is a false flag operation.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Part of me wants to cheer and the other part says things like this aren't helping.

        The second part of you is correct. These actions are counter-productive. Russia and Iran both have closed paranoid cultures that play up their victimhood at the hands of the West.

        Government ordered cyber offensives designed to change the leadership of a country are an act of war.

        Acts of war cannot be ignored. That alone is a reason Trump should be impeached, since he is not doing his damn job. (If anyone can point to a real plan to stop this shit from happening again, or even serious progress...?)

        Now, do vigilante actions help? Probably not, since the scale is likely only big enough to be used internally as propaganda. A response, if given must cause enough pain that the aggress

        • Re:Undecided (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday April 07, 2018 @10:00PM (#56399823)

          Government ordered cyber offensives designed to change the leadership of a country are an act of war.

          Espionage and covert activities are a normal part of government relations. Saying Russian ads on Facebook are an "act of war" is absurd.

          Acts of war cannot be ignored.

          Why not?

          That alone is a reason Trump should be impeached, since he is not doing his damn job.

          Declaring war is a congressional responsibility.

          If anyone can point to a real plan to stop this shit from happening again, or even serious progress...?

          Here's my plan: Improve education in America so we have fewer people stupid enough to believe nonsense posted on Facebook.

          • Education IS propaganda. Depending on content, it's bad or dood propaganda.

            What you are saying is that we should counteract it with good propaganda, and, as ever, I nominate myself to determine what is good or bad.

          • Government ordered cyber offensives designed to change the leadership of a country are an act of war.

            Espionage and covert activities are a normal part of government relations. Saying Russian ads on Facebook are an "act of war" is absurd.

            This is a red herring. Espionage might be a side effect of the present situation, given that some efforts were made to use secure russian communications to keep the US intelligence community from knowing what was being communicated between Russia and the Trump White house Source: http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com] But it isn't legal, and those caught are punished.

            But yeah - saying Russian ads on Facebook are the source of the concept of "Acts of war", and that we dumbass 'Murricans are only thinking of t

      • ShanghaiBill, what you said seems reasonable to me. For example, I recently had a very helpful discussion with a Russian immigrant here in the U.S. about the main Russian culture. I've had many discussions with Iranian immigrants. So I think I may have some basic understanding of those cultures.

        I'm surprised that other responses to your comment were so negative and so hostile.

        Hostile people: Be leaders. Don't be destructive. Use logic, not anger.
        • I'm surprised that other responses to your comment were so negative and so hostile.

          Two of the responses were hostile, and were most likely written by the same AC. I don't think his comments were directed at anything I said, but rather at me personally. I seem to have attracted my own private little AC troll who follows me from discussion to discussion to fling insults, like "Trump-supporting-Nazi" (I didn't vote for Trump) and "treasonous faggot" (I am heterosexual). I actually find the attention to be quite flattering.

      • As a Canadian, I'd say "paranoid culture that plays up their victimhood" narrative perfectly describes the post-9/11 USA.

  • by WolfgangVL ( 3494585 ) on Saturday April 07, 2018 @07:56PM (#56399469)

    This little circle-jerk just closed off viable attack vectors that could have been used in a real defense situation.

    Retaliation in 3...2....1.....

    • I came to Slashdot just now to see if anything was going on as we have had problems for the last few hours, websites such as channel4 and BBC keep becoming temporarily unavailable and some sites seem slow. Now I'm sure I'm not paranoid, maybe.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    hope russia targets them for execution they are now valid combatants

  • Attacking two politically sensitive countries? There are no air quotes big enough....
  • So, somebody broke the routers in 2 countries. We all know you know the holes used. We all know you aren't the only ones who know the holes used.

    Wouldn't it be nice if you could be pro-active for once and tell the router makers about all the holes you exploit?

    My bad. I understand your job is to fuck the other guy, even if the other guy can fuck us the same way.
    • by slashdot_commentator ( 444053 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @12:58AM (#56400249) Journal

      Wouldn't it be nice if you could be pro-active for once and tell the router makers about all the holes you exploit?

      Stupid, the router makers already know about the holes. They're just too languid in their response time to issue a patch. And even worse, admins and infrastructure managers are too slow to apply those patches and replace unpatchable (too old) machines.

  • that card :|
  • This is what Lenin called "useful idiots". People who believe propaganda and do dirty work for its creators. Were it the other way round, it would be considered hostile and criminal attack. If people just realized that there is no substantial difference from what they are doing, there would be much less warfare (probably).
  • ASCII art (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @08:07AM (#56400963)

    Their image of the American flag was a black-and-white drawing done with ASCII art.

    What really troubles me about this is the choice of image format used to save the screenshot of the ASCII art. Why are people still using JPEG for non-photographic images in 2018?

    • why so much comment on this slash compare to others.
  • "We were tired of attacks from government-backed hackers on the United States and other countries," someone in control of an email address left in the note told Motherboard Saturday"
  • Considering all the controls and export bans, I'm a bit surprised. Especially with Iran. I didn't think they were allowed to buy such devices.
  • Vigilante hackers (or nation-state in disguise, with famed reputation of being behind the vast majority of cyberhacks of nation-states.)

Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde

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