US probes Indian govt spy unit for alleged hacking!

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by cir, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. cir

    cir Senior Member Senior Member

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    US Feds probe allegations that Indian spies hacked into a US body on China and cybers

    By Mark Hosenball

    Mon Jan 9, 2012 5:53pm EST



    (Reuters) - U.S. authorities are investigating allegations that an Indian government spy unit hacked into emails of an official U.S. commission that monitors economic and security relations between the United States and China, including cyber-security issues.

    The request for an investigation came after hackers posted on the Internet what purports to be an Indian military intelligence document on cyber-spying, which discusses plans to target the commission - apparently using technical know-how provided by Western mobile phone manufacturers.

    Appended to the document are transcripts of what are said to be email exchanges among commission members.

    "We are aware of these reports and have contacted relevant authorities to investigate the matter. We are unable to make further comments at this time," Jonathan Weston, a spokesman for the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, said on Monday.

    The document's authenticity could not be independently verified. But the U.S.-China commission is not denying the authenticity of the emails.

    Officials in India could not be reached for comment on the document's content or authenticity. One India-based website quoted an unnamed army representative as denying that India used mobile companies to spy on the commission and calling the documents forged.

    The purported memo says that India cut a technological agreement - the details are not clear - with mobile phone manufacturers "in exchange for the Indian market presence." It cites three: Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry; Nokia; and Apple.

    Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said her company had not provided the Indian government with backdoor access to its products. A spokesman for Nokia declined comment; RIM officials could not be reached for comment.

    The U.S. Congress created the commission in 2000 to investigate and report on the national security implications of the economic relationship between the United States and China. The bipartisan, 12-member panel holds periodic hearings each year on China-related topics such as cyber security, weapons proliferation, energy, international trade compliance, and information policy.

    The email breach, if confirmed, would be the latest in a series of cyber intrusions that have struck U.S. institutions ranging from the Pentagon and defense contractors to Google Inc.

    A U.S. government official, who asked not to be identified, said the matter is under investigation. The FBI has jurisdiction to investigate cyber-hacking inside the United States. An FBI spokesman declined to comment.
    Many of the previous hacks have been blamed on China. In this case, it is unclear whether India might have been eavesdropping on the U.S.-China commission for itself or sought to pass any information collected to authorities in China.

    INDIA INTERESTED

    India and China have more often been competitors rather than collaborators on economic and foreign policy matters in recent years, and India would be intensely interested in the official U.S. view of Beijing.

    Stewart Baker, a former cyber-security policy expert at the National Security Agency and U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said the commission "would be a high-priority target for China, since USCC has been one of the most vocal US agencies in warning against Chinese hacking."

    "What's interesting is that they seem to have become a target for India for the same reason," Baker said. "If it's genuine, it should cause red faces all around. At USCC for apparently getting hacked by Indian intelligence, and even more so at Indian intelligence for getting hacked by what may be a bunch of amateurs."

    The purported emails between U.S.-China commission staff members, dating from September and October 2011, include discussions of how senior analysts from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence were scheduling a classified briefing for commission officials on a forthcoming National Intelligence Estimate looking at global manufacturing trends.

    The messages also contain discussions between commission staff members about legislation pending in Congress related to alleged currency manipulation by China.

    In one email, a staff member, reacting to criticism that a China currency bill pending on Capitol Hill would be "ineffective," argues: "Don't make the perfect the enemy of the good; we should confront bullies even if there is a risk we will get punched back."

    The emails are attached to what purports to be a memo dated October 6 and signed by a Colonel Ishwal Singh of India's Directorate General of Military Intelligence, Foreign Division.

    In the memo, Singh describes how "the President" had given "sanction" to an operation "to gain access to USCC transmittals." What "President" the memo is referring to is not further explained.

    According to the memo, because "MI" - presumably Military Intelligence - had trouble accessing U.S.-China commission cyber networks, the "decision was made earlier this year to sign an agreement with mobile manufacturers (MM) in exchange for the Indian market presence."

    One U.S. law enforcement official said the commission would be a logical target for intense surveillance by Chinese authorities, since its principal mission was to produce policy studies and recommendations about the U.S.-China relationship.

    In October 2009 the commission produced a detailed study on the "Capability of the People's Republic of China to Conduct Cyber Warfare and Computer Network Exploitation." A spokesman for the commission said it was working on a second study of cyber security issues related to China.

    (Additional reporting by Paul Eckert in Washington, Jim Finkle in Boston, Tarmo Virki in Helsinki, Devidutta Tripathy in New Delhi and Alastair Sharp in Toronto; editing by Warren Strobel and Mohammad Zargham)
     
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  3. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    Are we going to be interrogated? :scared2:I hope they mention DFI so that we'll be World famous...:cool2:
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2012
  4. tiranga

    tiranga Tihar Jail Banned

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    wow, first China now India.. looks like americans have lost their mental balance.. infact most hackers are found in US and Russia
     
  5. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    I gotta go into hiding now. :D
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Great fun!
     
  7. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    This pleases me. :)
     
  8. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    This relates to the separate thread about Apple and Indian military.
     
  9. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    It will be interesting to find out how our Indian fellows are gonna react if it was "US Feds probe allegations that Chinese spies hacked into a US body on India and cybersecurity", I doubt they are gonna take it lightly as they are now. Anyway, nice to know that India is not wasting their IT talents.

    By the way, Cir forgot to pos the link.
    U.S. probes alleged hacking by Indian govt spy unit | Reuters
    [h=2][/h]
     
  10. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    Well nothing out of ordinary, US does this to its ally and we did in return, It should be no surprise..
     
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  11. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    US authorities are investigating allegations that an Indian government spy unit hacked into emails of an official US commission that monitors economic and security relations between the United States and China, including cyber-security issues. The request for an investigation came after hackers posted on the internet what purports to be an Indian military intelligence document on cyber-spying, which discusses plans to target the commission - apparently using technical know-how provided by Western mobile phone manufacturers.(sevenoya)

    Appended to the document are transcripts of what are said to be email exchanges among commission members.

    "We are aware of these reports and have contacted relevant authorities to investigate the matter. We are unable to make further comments at this time," Jonathan Weston, a spokesman for the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, said on Monday.

    The document's authenticity could not be independently verified. But the US-China commission is not denying the authenticity of the emails.

    Officials in India could not be reached for comment on the document's content or authenticity. One India-based website quoted an unnamed army representative as denying that India used mobile companies to spy on the commission and calling the documents forged.

    The purported memo says that India cut a technological agreement - the details are not clear - with mobile phone manufacturers "in exchange for the Indian market presence." It cites three: Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry; Nokia ; and Apple.

    Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said her company had not provided the Indian government with backdoor access to its products. A spokesman for Nokia declined comment; RIM officials could not be reached for comment.

    The US Congress created the commission in 2000 to investigate and report on the national security implications of the economic relationship between the United States and China. The bipartisan, 12-member panel holds periodic hearings each year on China-related topics such as cyber security, weapons proliferation, energy, international trade compliance, and information policy.

    The email breach, if confirmed, would be the latest in a series of cyber intrusions that have struck US institutions ranging from the Pentagon and defense contractors to Google Inc .

    A group calling itself the Lords of Dharmaraja said in an internet post that it had uncovered the hacking. It said it had discovered the source codes of a dozen software companies in Indian Military Intelligence servers.

    A US government official, who asked not to be identified, said the matter is under investigation. The FBI has jurisdiction to investigate cyber-hacking inside the United States. An FBI spokesman declined to comment.

    Many of the previous hacks have been blamed on China. In this case, it is unclear whether India might have been eavesdropping on the US-China commission for itself or sought to pass any information collected to authorities in China.

    India interested
    India would be intensely interested in the official US view of Beijing. Ties between the two countries, which fought a brief border war in 1962, remain difficult. New Delhi sees Beijing as a long-term rival.

    Stewart Baker, a former cyber-security policy expert at the National Security Agency and US Department of Homeland Security, said the commission "would be a high-priority target for China, since USCC has been one of the most vocal US agencies in warning against Chinese hacking."

    "What's interesting is that they seem to have become a target for India for the same reason," Baker said. "If it's genuine, it should cause red faces all around. At USCC for apparently getting hacked by Indian intelligence, and even more so at Indian intelligence for getting hacked by what may be a bunch of amateurs."

    The purported emails between US-China commission staff members, dating from September and October 2011, include discussions of how senior analysts from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence were scheduling a classified briefing for commission officials on a forthcoming National Intelligence Estimate looking at global manufacturing trends.

    The messages also contain discussions between commission staff members about legislation pending in Congress related to alleged currency manipulation by China.

    In one email, a staff member, reacting to criticism that a China currency bill pending on Capitol Hill would be "ineffective," argues: "Don't make the perfect the enemy of the good; we should confront bullies even if there is a risk we will get punched back."

    The emails are attached to what purports to be a memo dated Oct. 6 and signed by a Colonel Ishwal Singh of India's Directorate General of Military Intelligence, Foreign Division.

    In the memo, Singh describes how "the President" had given "sanction" to an operation "to gain access to USCC transmittals." What "President" the memo is referring to is not further explained.

    According to the memo, because "MI" - presumably Military Intelligence - had trouble accessing US-China commission cyber networks, the "decision was made earlier this year to sign an agreement with mobile manufacturers (MM) in exchange for the Indian market presence."

    One US law enforcement official said the commission would be a logical target for intense surveillance by Chinese authorities, since its principal mission was to produce policy studies and recommendations about the US-China relationship.

    In October 2009 the commission produced a detailed study on the "Capability of the People's Republic of China to Conduct Cyber Warfare and Computer Network Exploitation." A spokesman for the commission said it was working on a second study of cyber security issues related to China.

    US probes Indian govt spy unit for alleged hacking - Hindustan Times
     
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  12. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    Looks like it is india's turn now.
     
  13. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    but still PRC leads in this field, we need to catch up them...........:thumb:
     
  14. sukhish

    sukhish Senior Member Senior Member

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    let's join hands and screw uncle sam.
     
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  15. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    document was fake it said CBI is doing spying with MI..........:frusty:
     
  16. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    Chinese hand in this i suspect.
     
  17. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    What will India achieve in hacking papers of US China subcommittee as almost all congressional or senate proceedings are in public domain. I am sure they do not hold design of implosion bomb or F-22 Raptors.
     
  18. Arunpillai

    Arunpillai Regular Member

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  19. H.A.

    H.A. Senior Member Senior Member

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    I read the article and got a little confused...

    Are Lord of the Dharmaraja an Indian government spy unit? Because if they are then why will the hack Indian Military servers?

    Mr. Stewart Baker himself says
    My question again who are Lords of Dharmaraja?​
     
  20. JAYRAM

    JAYRAM 2 STRIKE CORPS Senior Member

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    Hackers Say Indian Intelligence Has U.S. Passwords

    A hacktivist group has released troves of emails, spy memos, and U.S. government server access credentials. While not all are genuine, the breach points to cyber spying as the new norm.

    By Mathew J. Schwartz InformationWeek
    January 13, 2012 03:22 PM

    Did an Indian military intelligence organization eavesdrop on negotiations between the United States and China and steal U.S. government passwords via an "Advanced Cellular Intercept Program?"

    Last week, Yama Tough, a member of "The Lords of Dharmaraja"--dharmaraja being Sanskrit for "just and righteous king"--hacktivist group, disclosed what he said were emails that had been captured by India's RINOA (for RIM, Nokia, and Apple) spy program. Some of those emails apparently contained details from secret negotiations conducted by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

    A memo also leaked by Yama Tough--he said it was an official government document, which he'd found on an Indian Ministry of External Affairs server--referred to the Indian government's decision "made earlier this year to sign an agreement with mobile manufacturers in exchange for the Indian market presence," as well as to "backdoors provided by RINOA." That suggested that India had traded backdoor access to smartphones for high-technology manufacturers' access to India's telecommunications market.

    Meanwhile, on Wednesday InfoSec Island reported that Yama Tough had provided it with what he said were U.S. government account-access credentials. "The data included 68 sets of usernames and passwords for compromised U.S. government network accounts which were said to have been acquired by hacking multiple servers belonging to India's Ministry of External affairs (mea.gov.in) and the National Informatics Centre (nic.in), amongst others," it said. Yama Tough said that was just a sample of the information that The Lords of Dharmaraja had stolen.

    These weren't the The Lords of Dharmaraja's first exploits. Notably, the group has also taken credit for a leak of Symantec source code earlier this month. Symantec confirmed that the code for two of its older enterprise products--Endpoint Protection 11.0 and Antivirus 10.2--had been disclosed. Experts believe the source code may have been stolen from government servers and that Indian authorities may have demanded to see the security software source code before allowing the product to be sold in the country.

    Despite that, however, at least some of the documents released by The Lords of Dharmaraja appear to have been faked. Thursday, Jeffrey Carr, CEO of Taia Global, reported that after studying the just-released RINOA emails from The Lords of Dharmaraja, he'd found that they were identical to the contents of the .bat file that the same hacking group had stolen from the Indian embassy in Paris in August 2011. That file supposedly contained a cache of email documents from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

    Reuters reported that it had obtained a copy of those emails, which the hacktivist group collected in the .bat file and posted to file-sharing sites last year, although it quickly became unavailable. "Dated between April and October last year, many of the emails were addressed to Bill Reinsch, a member of an official U.S. commission monitoring economic and security ties between the United States and China, including cyber-security issues," according to Reuters. It's unclear, however, if those emails were authentic.

    Carr, however, said that at least some of what the group has released appears to be fake. Notably, the recently released RINOA memos had been redacted, but he said that the Indian civil service doesn't internally redact memos. "The Lords of Dharmaraja are mixing authentic stolen data with invented scenarios in order to get more publicity for themselves," he said, and recommended treating any of the group's future disclosures "with a high degree of suspicion."

    If the memo was faked--and many besides Carr believe this to be the case--then what was the impetus? "Some people have been saying that it's most likely for marketing of this hacker group. I'm not so sure about that. It's just too good of a job. I think there might be other political or strategic motivations, other than just marketing these guys," said Jeff Schmidt, CEO of JAS Global Advisors, via phone.

    Regardless of whoever may have faked the memos, there's a bigger-picture story here as well. "There's been so much data leaked and posted all over the place that now it's kind of easy to fabricate compromised data," he said. "Anyone can log into Pastebin, post a bunch of stuff, and say that we compromised this from here. And it's likely to get traction, because there's so much that's been going on. It seems like no system is secure, so there's almost a presumption of authenticity."

    Indeed, earlier this week, an Anonymous and AntiSec affiliate posted what it claimed were IP addresses and access credentials for 10 Israeli supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. But via email, Shai Blitzblau, group managing director for Maglan-Information Defense Technologies, said that his firm had analyzed the published IP addresses, and found that none had anything to do with SCADA systems.

    If The Lords of Dharmaraja faked some of the information they released, however, some of the information it disclosed--including the Symantec source code--is real, and that points to another big-picture trend: every country, including India, spies on other countries. "All of the emphasis and focus has been on China, and certainly China is an actor in this space, but certainly they're not the only actor. If you go back over the history of state sponsored spying, the reality is that everyone spies on everybody," said Schmidt at JAS Global Advisors.

    "Allies spy on allies, enemies spy on their friends; it's common knowledge, it's been happening as long as there have been governments, and it will always keep happening," he said. "Cyber is a new theater in which to spy, and you should assume that people are using it to spy."

    Motivations, of course, may differ. Notably, Michael Hayden, a former director of both the CIA and NSA, said last month at the Black Hat conference in Abu Dhabi that while many governments spy for industrial espionage purposes, to help their private-sector businesses, the United States--and in particular the NSA- spy only on other governments. "We steal secrets, you bet. But we steal secrets that are essential for American security and safety,” he said. “We don't steal secrets for American commerce, for American profit. There are many other countries in the world that do not so self-limit."

    Hackers Say Indian Intelligence Has U.S. Passwords - Security - Attacks/breaches - Informationweek
     
  21. tiranga

    tiranga Tihar Jail Banned

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    we are a peaceful nation we dont do such things namaste :namaste: enuff said
     

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