Security Brief: OpIsrael, Skype Vulnerabilities and Piracy

The main cyber security events between November 12 and November 18

Another week is about to pass and all we can say is that the world of information security keeps getting more interesting by the minute. This week, the main events revolved around Anonymous’ Operation Israel (OpIsrael), some critical vulnerabilities in Skype, and digital piracy.

We’ve learned that Israeli forces and Hamas representatives have had some arguments regarding which one of them is "stronger." It didn’t end in a fist fight, but a verbal battle on Twitter.

Shortly after that, although it probably didn’t have anything to do with the Twitter messages, all hell broke loose and Israel starter intensifying its attacks against Palestine.

Anonymous hacktivists – who are known to support the people of Palestine – have immediately stepped into action and started launching all sorts of cyberattacks against Israel.

On day one, tens of websites were breached and defaced, but the next day the numbers grew to hundreds. The hackers started launching distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks against Israeli government sites, disrupting many of them for short periods of time.

Then, even Muslim hackers intervened. They contributed to OpIsrael by defacing some 570 Israeli sites.

Skype users from all over the world were shocked to find out that their accounts could be compromised at any time by hackers. This was possible not because of one vulnerability, but because of two bugs that affected the password recovery mechanisms.

The details of the first flaw have been identified on a Russian hacking forum. In addition, two other security holes that exposed customer accounts were found back in October by researchers from the Vulnerability Lab. Skype has rushed to fix all the issues.

As far as piracy is concerned, there are only two pieces of good news for those who support the freedom of information.

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has launched the domain for his new Mega service. The home of Mega will be New Zealand.

Also, Demonoid’s tracker is back online. The index and the forum are still offline, but this is a sign that the service might be restored soon.

On the other hand, torrent and file sharing sites have been attacked not only by hackers, but also by rights holders and their representatives.

First, a hacker called Zeiko Anonymous launched DDOS attacks against a number of torrent websites, including, The Pirate Bay, isoHunt, BitSnoop and many others.

This wasn’t the only blow suffered by The Pirate Bay. Swedish prosecutors are accusing the site’s founder of being involved in a second hacking case, besides the one that targeted IT company Logica.

Recording artists led by eccentric billionaire Alki David have filed a lawsuit against CNET and CBS in an attempt to stop them from distributing BitTorrent software.

The RIAA is also after digital pirates, not that this is news to anyone. The organization has submitted a new list of sites that should be wiped from the face of the Internet. They claim they’re tired of the “cat and mouse game” they’ve been playing with cyberlockers and BitTorrent websites.

In case you missed it, we’ve had an interview this week with DeadMellox of Team GhostShell. He has revealed some interesting things about their operations, but also about Japan’s cyber security.

Google released another one of its Transparency Reports, according to which, government surveillance is definitely on the rise. In the first half of 2012, governments from all over the world made over 20,000 inquiries.

Organizations have learned a very important lesson this week. Cyber thieves are not the only ones they should worry about.

The details of over 10,000 NASA employees have been compromised after a thief stole a laptop from the locked vehicle of a staffer. The device was password protected, but the information stored on it wasn’t encrypted.

The controversial John McAfee, founder of the world renowned antivirus company, is accused of murdering his neighbor. He claims he’s innocent and has gone into hiding, being afraid that police will kill him if they find him.

On the other hand, others say he’s a man who’s feared even by his friends.

Finally, it appears Adobe has suffered a data breach. An Egyptian hacker has managed to gain unauthorized access to the company’s Connectuser forum, gaining access to some 150,000 user accounts.

He only leaked a few hundred, but Adobe isn’t taking any chances and has moved to reset the passwords of impacted customers.

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