Metropolitan Police


Report: UK Newspaper Computer Hacking Could Be As Widespread As Phone Hacking

Investigations by the BBC suggest a widening probe into alleged computer hacking by UK newspapers. In all, the computer hacking may have been as widespread as now-notorious voicemail hacking conducted by reporters at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World, and may have compromised classified British intelligence from government officials, the reports say.

Alleged Anonymous Member Topiary Appears in London Court

ED: Alleged Anonymous Leader Topiary Arraigned in LondonDEK: The authorities have charged Jake Davis, a UK resident from the remote Sheltand islands with five criminal counts. The 18 year old is alleged to be “Topiary,” a prominent member of the inner circle of the hacking groups Anonymous and Lulz Security. The authorities have charged Jake Davis, a UK resident from the remote Sheltand islands with five criminal counts. The 18 year old is alleged to be “Topiary,” a prominent member of the inner circle of the hacking groups Anonymous and Lulz Security.  Davis, whose arrest was announced on July 27, (http://threatpost.com/en_us/blogs/uk-police-arrest-man-they-say-anonymous-member-topiary-072711) is charged with violations of the UK’s Computer Misuse Act, Serious Crime Act and Criminal Law Act, including “Unauthorised access to a computer system,” “Conspiracy with others to carry out a Distributed Denial of Service Attack on the website of the Serious and Organised Crime Agency,” and other conspiracy charges. He appeared in City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday 1 August, according to the Metropolitan Police (http://content.met.police.uk/News/Man-charged-with-ecrime-offences/1260269346230/1257246745756)The teenager, who appeared in court wearing dark sunglasses and a blue, denim shirt, was released on bail until August 30, but is required to wear a monitoring bracelet and abstain from using the Internet, according to a report in the UK’s Daily Telegraph. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8674987/LulzSec-hacking-Jake-Davis-had-cache-of-750000-passwords.html). Controversy has swirled around the arrest, with astonishment that a teenager in such a remote corner of the British Isles would be at the center of an international hacking collective, and members of Anonymous claiming that authorities arrested the wrong man. However, the Metropolitan Police have issued numerous statements that suggesting that they have strong evidence linking Davis to the hacker known as Topiary. If that is true, it would be a major score in the international law enforcement effort to bring down the group, which has carried out a string of high profile hacks in the last year, including attacks on HBGary, Sony, the CIA, the UK’s Serious and Organized Crime Agency and others. Leaked IRC chat logs purporting to be from a restricted channel used by the group’s leadership suggest that Topiary was a central player in the attacks on HBGary Federal and its then-CEO Aaron Barr. A user with the IRC handle Topiary is quoted in those logs directing elements of that attack, including the publication of stolen e-mails from the firm. He also served as a spokesman for the group, granting interviews to the press, though leaked chat logs suggest that he was interested in  passing himself off as an “observer” of the group rather than a leading member. The arrest is the second of a top ranked Anonymous member in recent weeks. In June, authorities arrested 19 year-old Ryan Cleary of Essex England. Cleary is alleged to have operated a botnet used t attack on tho carry out denial of service attacks, including the website of the Serious and Organised Crime Agency. The authorities have charged Jake Davis, a UK resident from the remote Sheltand islands with five criminal counts. The 18 year old is alleged to be “Topiary,” a prominent member of the inner circle of the hacking groups Anonymous and Lulz Security. 


ED: More Allegations Link Murdoch’s Media Empire to “Ethical Hackers”  DEK: New reports add weight to accusations that Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World may have used professional hackers and malicious programs to obtain information that was then used in news reports. The ‘drip drip drip’ of reports that link Rupert Murdoch’s media empire to incidents of malicious computer programs continues this week, with news of an investigation into News of the World’s the use of so-called “ethical hackers” to obtain information from computers owned by targeted individuals.The investigation, dubbed “Operation Tuleta” is being carried out by detectives in Scotland Yard’s Specialist Crime Directorate and is separate from the ongoing investigation into phone hacking by News of the World reporters and operatives, according to a report in The Telegraph. It follows earlier reports by two bloggers and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown that information gathering by News of the World wasn’t limited to tampering with voice mailboxes. According to the report Monday in the Telegraph, the investigation is looking into allegations that private detectives and a firm of “ethical hackers” was hired by News International to investigate targets using “offensive hacking services” including the use of Trojan horse programs to gather information from e-mails from the computers of individuals being investigated by the Murdoch papers. Among the alleged targets were Kevin FUlton, believed to have been a British agent working within the IRA. The information was harvested and then allegedly written up and faxed to News International’s Dublin, Ireland bureau, the Telegraph reports. “Ethical hacking” – sometimes described as “white hat hacking” — is a term sometimes used to describe a wide range of typically authorized security testing, including network penetration testing, application testing, social engineering and so on.  Such activity is conducted with the knowledge and consent of the target, whether its an individual, corporation or other organization. If true, the reports are similar to information turned up in a March, 2011 investigation by the BBC (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/05/magazine/05hacking-t.html) and to independent claims by Brown and by two sex advice bloggers who allege that Murdoch’s News of the World outted them after first using malicious programs to compromise their computers and determine their identities. A spokesman for News International told Threatpost last week that former Prime Minister Brown’s allegations were “nonsense” and said the company wasn’t aware of any complaint by Brown or the other accusers. Among the data allegedly stolen from Fulton’s computer were emails and other files that name Irish polician and Sinn Fein member Martin McGuinness as a British spy. Fulton lodged a complaint with the Metropolitan Police in April alleging that some e-mails from 2006 had been intercepted by individuals working for News International.The scandal, which dates back almost six years, has sent shock waves throughout British Society and led to ten arrests and jail terms for one News of the World reporter. In recent days it has led to the arrest of former News International Chief Executive Rebekah Brooks and the resignation of the Metropolitan Police’s Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner, who are alleged to have been too cozy with Murdoch’s News of the World and who failed to adequately investigate mounting claims of illegal behavior linked to News of the World reporting. The ‘drip drip drip’ of reports that link Rupert Murdoch’s media empire to incidents of malicious computer programs continues this week, with news of an investigation into News of the World’s the use of so-called “ethical hackers” to obtain information from computers owned by targeted individuals.

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