October 27, 2016

Stratfor.com Back Online

(LiveHacking.Com) – Stratfor.com, the web site of global intelligence-analysing firm Strategic Forecasting Inc – a provider of intelligence on global business, security and economic issues, is back online after being taken down at the end of last year due to a security breach. Stratfor’s CEO George Friedman posted a YouTube video on the relaunched site where he denounced those responsible for the attack but he did accept responsibility for Stratfor’s failure to properly protect customer data. He also announced that from now on all credit card processing will be handled by a third party.

Here are some key quotes from Friedman’s video:

  • We knew our reputation would be damaged by the revelation, all the more so because we had not encrypted the credit card files. This was a failure on our part. As the founder and CEO of Stratfor, I take responsibility for this failure, which has created hardship for customers and friends, and I deeply regret that it took place.
  • The difference between clients and subscribers is important here. A client is someone you do customized work for. A subscriber is simply someone who purchases a publication, unchanged from what others read. A subscriber of The New York Times is not its client. Nevertheless, some of the media started referring to these subscribers as clients, reflecting the narrative of those claiming to speak with knowledge of our business.
  • The Internet has become an indispensible part of our lives. We shop, communicate, publish and read on it. It has become the village commons of the planet. But in the village commons of old, neighbors who knew and recognized each other met and lived together. Others knew what they did in the commons, and they were accountable.
  • In the global commons, anonymity is an option. This is one of the great virtues of the Internet. It is also a terrible weakness. It is possible to commit crimes on the Internet anonymously. The technology that enables the Internet also undermines accountability.
  • The handling of credit cards is being handed off to a third party with appropriate capability to protect privacy.
  • We certainly expect to be attacked again…

Stratfor Site Still Down as Password Analysis Reveals Weaknesses

(LiveHacking.Com) – Stratfor.com, the website of global intelligence-analysing firm Strategic Forecasting Inc., remains offline after the Christmas Eve hacker attack. The site currently says that Stratfor is investigating the security breach and is working diligently to prevent it from ever happening again! Stratfor will only restore the website once its security review is finished.

In the mean time, the nearly one million records stolen by the hackers have been published online and The Tech Herald has examined the list of passwords hashes and started cracking them with surprising results. The passwords which were stored as MD5 hashes are cracked using a variety of methods including dictionary attacks and brute force attacks. Using the Hashcat password recovery tool (together with GPU processing) the Tech Herald team managed to crack 81,883 of the 860,160 published password hashes in under 5 hours. That’s 270 password per minute. Why? Due to the weaknesses in the password. And when I say weak, I mean stupidly weak. One account even had the password ****** – yes, six asterisks.

By just using a set of small word lists, made up of common passwords, names and words from the King James Bible, the teams decoded nearly 26,000 passwords in 7 minutes. The team then went on to use larger and larger word lists including words and phrases from other languages (like Russian and Italian), surnames and common keyboard combinations (eg. 123ewqasd).

Some of the interesting passwords found include:

  • 111222333444
  • 12345stratfor
  • blackberry
  • blockbuster
  • globalization
  • hello123
  • qwerty
  • password
  • mypassword1
  • stratfor
  • Password123
  • washington

Global Intelligence Company Hit by Anonymous. Or Was it?

(LiveHacking.Com) – The hacking group known as Anonymous says it has stolen emails, passwords and credit card information from the Texas based security think-tank Strategic Forecasting, Inc. According to the BBC, an alleged member of Anonymous posted an online message, claiming that the group had used Stratfor clients’ credit card details to make “over a million dollars” in donations to different charities.

Stratfor’s website was defaced with the message “merry lulzxmas! are you ready for a week of mayhem? H0h0h0h0h0.” In response Stratfor took down its website and suspended email processing. The company, which provides independent analysis of international affairs and security threats, sent an e-mail Sunday to subscribers:

“On December 24th an unauthorized party disclosed personally identifiable information and related credit card data of some of our members. We have reason to believe that your personal and credit card data could have been included in the information that was illegally obtained and disclosed.”

However in a bizarre twist another posting appeared from Anonymous saying “hackers claiming to be Anonymous have distorted this truth in order to further their hidden agenda”

“The leaked client list represents subscribers to a daily publication which is the primary service of Stratfor. Stratfor analysts are widely considered to be extremely unbiased. Anonymous does not attack media sources” said Anonymous via an emergency Christmas Anonymous press release.