Teenage ‘LulzSec hacker’ accused of attacking websites is banned from seeing his girlfriend alone

On the face of it, teenager Ryan Cleary appears the archetypal computer geek who retreated from the real world into a digital one.

When he was charged with hacking into the website of the Serious Organised Crime Agency, observers branded him a recluse who needed to ‘get a girlfriend’.

But he was already dating Amy Chapman, 19, – and now a judge has refused his request to see her alone.

Suspect: Alleged computer hacker Ryan Cleary, 19, asked for his bail conditions to be altered so he can date his girlfriend without someone watching over himSuspect: Alleged computer hacker Ryan Cleary, 19, asked for his bail conditions to be altered so he can date his girlfriend without someone watching over him

The Aspergers sufferer is said to be a key member of the computer hacking network LulzSec, which has been blamed for attacks on the Serious Organised Crime Agency, the CIA, Sony and News International.

He is alleged to have controlled a ‘botnet’ of up to half a million compromised computers which he used to launch ‘denial of service’ attacks against websites.

He was charged in June and bail conditions imposed in court stipulate that he can only leave his home address with a parent.

Addressing London’s Southwark Crown Court, his defence barrister Ben Cooper asked for this to be changed so Cleary could see Miss Chapman without his parents being present.

Refusing the application, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said: ‘I will not consider making a variation until the police have interviewed her and that they are satisfied that she is responsible enough to take on the duty.’

 

Cleary and fellow alleged LulzSec member Jake Davis, 18, were not required to attend the hearing.

Davis is said to have operated from his bedroom in the Shetland Islands and used the online name Topiary.

The judge issued a stark warning to both defendants to comply with their bail conditions as he fixed their plea and case management hearing for January 27, 2012.

‘First of all bail has to be on the same stringent terms for both of these defendants and I reiterate, as I did to one of them who has appeared before me, that if they breach any of these conditions they can be arrested and brought before the court and almost certainly remanded in custody,’ he said.

Cleary, of South Beech Avenue, Wickford, Essex, is charged with five offences under the Computer Misuse and Criminal Law Acts.

 

He is alleged to have taken part in a denial of service attack – which cripple websites by overwhelming them with requests for data – that briefly brought down SOCA’s site.

Cleary is also accused of involvement in two similar attacks on the websites of both the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry and its British counterpart on November 28 and October 29 respectively.

A further charge alleges that he ‘made, adapted, supplied or offered to supply’ access to a ‘botnet’ – a network of computers, hijacked without their owners’ knowledge – for use in the attacks.

Each of the three charges relating to DoS attacks carry a maximum jail sentence of 10 years, while the botnet charge could result in up to two years imprisonment.

Davis, of Hoofields, Lerwick, Shetland, is alleged to have played a leading role in LulzSec, a group that was said to have been disbanded after being linked to attacks on a number of high-profile sites.

He is charged with gaining unauthorised access to a computer system, encouraging or assisting offences and two counts of conspiracy to commit offences.

He also faces a charge of conspiring to carry out a distributed denial of service attack – where a website is flooded with traffic to make it crash – on the Serious and Organised Crime Agency website.

Anonymous defaces BART site, leaks user data

Anonymous has apparently made good on a promise to wreak havoc on the Web site of the Bay Area Rapid Transit System today, although not exactly as planned.

Earlier, the amorphous collective had threatened to take Bart.gov offline for six hours today, or twice the amount of time BART managers took cell phone service offline at some BART stations Thursday night in order to head off a planned protest then. The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack was supposed to begin at noon pacific time, according to a release from Anonymous.

As of 30 minutes past noon, the BART site was still online but running a little slow and with one notable change to the mybart.org Web site, which currently displays the Anonymous logo as seen below.

MyBart.org was still defaced as of 12:35 PM Pacific time on Sunday.

(Credit: Screen capture by Eric Mack/CNET)

As screen captures of the defacement began rocketing around Twitter, news came that Anonymous hackers had also accessed and posted online a database of mybart.org with user e-mails and some addresses and phone numbers.

Shortly after the mybart.org defacement, a more elaborate mark was left on californiaavoid.org, a Web site maintained by the California Office of Traffic Safety. The #opBART Facebook page claims the defacements are part of Anonymous’ protest effort against BART.

Californiaavoid.org as of 12:40 PM Pacific on Sunday.

For a brief period, BART posted two news releases on its Web site, one advising customers that its Web site could be attacked and go offline Sunday afternoon, another warning of possible interruptions to train service due to Anonymous’ planned peaceful, in-person protest during Monday evening’s rush hour. As of this writing, both releases are no longer visible, and BART.gov remains online almost an hour after Anonymous planned to take it down for the remainder of the afternoon.

Turkish Government Sites Targeted by Anonymous

Hacker group Anonymous said on Thursday it has launched DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks on some Turkish government websites, in protest against government plans to introduce Internet filtering.

The move comes a few days before Turkey holds parliamentary elections on Sunday.

By late Thursday, the site of Telekomünikasyon İletişim Başkanlığ, the Internet regulator that drew up the filtering plan, was not accessible.

In launching the DDoS attacks, Anonymous may have run into opposition from hacker groups in Turkey who threatened to hack Anonymous sites, according to reports. Anonymous’ news site, for example, was not accessible late Thursday. The group did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

Turkey’s Information Department was also not immediately available for comment.

Turks are protesting against new Internet rules that comes into effect from Aug. 22, and will require users to choose one of four filters before accessing the Internet.

In a petition on Avaaz.org, an online forum for mobilizing support for a cause, petitioners called on Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority, which is commonly known as BTK, to withdraw any regulations that include mandatory content filtering for Internet users in Turkey, and immediately reverse the new “Rules and Procedures on the Safe Use of the Internet”.

In a statement online, Anonymous said that the Turkish government is taking censorship to a new level. The new filtering systems will make it possible to keep records of everyone’s Internet activity, it added.

On Twitter, Anonymous said on Thursday that four sites in Turkey were inaccessible. But two of them, that of the country’s meteorological service and the ministry of national education, appeared to be up and running at time of writing.

Anonymous hacked earlier this week a the site of an Indian government IT organization in protest against corruption, and government action against anti-corruption protesters.

Understanding the Modern DDoS Threat

The breadth of cyber threats that an organization must engage with and combat seemingly change on a daily basis. Each new technology, vulnerability or exploit vector results in a new threat that must be protected against. Meanwhile some forms of attack never appear to age — they remain a threat to business continuity despite years of advances in defensive strategy. One particularly insidious and never-ending threat is that of the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.

Never far from the news headlines, DDoS attacks are the staple disruptive technique preferred by an increasingly broad spectrum of attackers. While they may be the oldest and most commonly encountered form of cyber attack, defenses against them are often non-trivial and even the best tried-and-tested protection can fail under a sufficiently well conceived attack.

In order to best understand the threat modern DDoS campaigns pose to enterprise networks and the businesses that depend upon them, I’ve pulled together a new whitepaper on the topic.

The paper “Understanding the Modern DDoS Threat” examines the technology, coordination tactics and motivations behind the DDoS attacks likely to pose a risk to Internet accessible businesses now and in the immediate future. It steps through the thought processes governing the primary instigators of the attacks and their tactics of choice.

Armed with this level of understanding, the folks charged with defending their organizations from the DDoS menace will be better able to mitigate the threat and effectively communicate its impact to the higher echelons of their organization.

Change.Org Victim of DDoS Attack From China

IDG News Service — Change.org, an online petitioning platform, has come under an ongoing distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack originating from China after the site hosted a call urging Chinese authorities to release artist Ai Weiwei from custody.

The attacks, which started late Sunday, have nearly brought down the site, according to Change.org founder Ben Rattray.

DDoS attacks work by using hundreds or thousands of hacked computers to send traffic to a website, overwhelming it with data so it becomes inaccessible to normal users.

Change.org said the current attack originates from an expanding group of computers primarily based in China, and has yet to stop. This is the first time the site has been hit with a DDoS attack.

Change.org has been hosting a online petition calling for the release of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who is currently under arrest. The petition has attracted almost 100,000 people from 175 countries, making it one of Change.org’s most successful international campaigns, Rattray said.

“It’s pretty clear the attack is in response to the campaign,” he added. “It’s extraordinary that somebody in China with a high-level of technical sophistication can impact the ability for people around the world to organize.”

The online call coincided with demonstrations across the world this past Sunday, which also called for the artist’s release. Ai, who is also known for his activism, has been detained as part of a Chinese government crackdown on political dissidents in the country.

Authorities in the country have arrested other human rights activists and clamped down on the information flow, following previous online postings that began in February calling for a “Jasmine revolution” against the Chinese government.

Change.org is currently blocked in China. Internet censors in the country regularly block sites that are deemed to politically sensitive.

Despite the block, the computers involved in the DDoS attack are managing to find a way around the country’s national Internet firewall, said Rattray.

In the past, other sites have been the victims of cyber attacks coming from China. This March, blog publishing platform WordPress.com also reported being hit with a DDoS attack originating from China.

Chinese hackers have also allegedly launched cyber attacks to steal data from foreign energy accompanies, according to security vendor McAfee (MFE). In 2009, Google (GOOG) was also the victim of an attack originating from China that was aimed at accessing the Gmail accounts of human rights activists

The Chinese government has previously responded to these reports by denying it is involved in any cyberattacks, adding that China has also been a victim of hacking attempts.

The true source of DDoS attacks is often unclear. Although Change.org has traced the current attack to servers in China, it is also possible the computers are under the control of hackers based in another country.

Change.org reports that both the FBI and U.S. State Department are looking into the DDoS attack.

“We won’t stop or take down anything because of this DDoS attack,” Rattray said. “We believe in the fundamental right of the people to organize around issues they care about it.”

Cybercriminals Target Russian News and Online Blogging Sites

Recently, Russian news and online blogging websites – Novaya Gazeta and LiveJournal suffered distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRLog (Press Release)Apr 11, 2011 – Websites are targeted to gain unauthorized access to confidential information, disrupt services or lodge protest against information provided on those sites. Recently, Russian media and blog sites suffered massive cyber-attack. The latest attack targeted the website of popular newspaper Novaya Gazeta. Attackers purportedly launched distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. At its peak, the attack caused 70,000 requests to the website of Novaya Gazeta in 14 seconds. Information security professionals have restored the services of the website. The attack on the newspaper website follows a similar attack on LiveJournal, one of the most popular Russian blogging sites. According to an analysis by Kaspersky Lab, the DDoS attack on the popular blogging site was commanded by Optima/Darkness botnet. The attack was first directed on the blog of a well-known anti-corruption campaigner on LiveJournal. The attacks soon spread to the pages of other bloggers on the site. According to the Internet security firm, Optima botnet was first identified at the end of the previous year on the Russian cybercrime black market. The botnet is also notorious for downloading executable files, and stealing authentication information related to FTP clients, Instant Messengers (IM), e-mail clients and web browsers among others. Online technology degree programs, webinars and conferences may help IT professionals in updating their technical skills and know-how for proactive handling of sophisticated cyber threats.

In case of DDoS attacks, cybercriminals use several compromised computers to target a particular resource. Multitudes of requests are sent simultaneously to the targeted resource, making it virtually impossible for the resource to deliver normal services to the legitimate users. Cybercriminals compromise large number of vulnerable systems and install malicious software, without user’s knowledge. The compromised systems, called zombies are then instructed to attack to the targeted resource. By using the zombies to launch attack, the perpetrators of crime make it difficult for investigative authorities to trace the actual origin of the attack. Cyber security education through blogs, online tutorials, online computer degree programs may help in creating awareness on safe online computing practices among Internet users. Users must install and regularly update anti-malware programs to safeguard their computer systems against sophisticated cyber threats.

Both the sites offer platform for expression of alternative opinions on crucial issues. The attacks on these sites assume significance as the elections for ‘State Duma’, the Lower house of the Russian Parliament are scheduled to be held at the end of the year.   DDoS attacks on business websites may severely impact their productivity and result in losses. Administrators must regularly monitor the traffic to identify unusual activity. They may also configure data traffic limits. Professionals qualified in IT masters degree may help in implementing proper monitoring mechanisms and regular evaluation of networks for threat vectors. Organizations must have robust IT security policy in place. Regulations only provide for the minimum security requirements. Therefore, IT security must not be viewed as only a compliance activity. Organizations must be proactive in identification and mitigation of security flaws. IT security apparatus must be regularly evaluated and modernized in tune with changes in threat scenario.

GoDaddy hit with a 21 million PPS attack

From their post:

What Happened?

You might have noticed that some of you had trouble accessing your Go Daddy-hosted site over the weekend, March 25-26. And you’re also probably asking, “What happened?”

The short of it: We were the target of a 21-million-packets-per-second Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.

A DDoS attack is an attempt to shut down a network by flooding it with nonsense requests. And 21 million packets per second is a lot of nonsense.

To put that into perspective: If it takes 5 packets per second to load the average website, then clicking refresh a few times would generate 20 packets per second. So think of 21 million packets per second as clicking refresh on your browser as fast as you can, while inviting 10 million of your closest friends to join you.

Read their full article here:

GoDaddy full article