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Iran Hacks US Spy Sites 149

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-they-can dept.
superapecommando writes "Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps hacked into 29 websites affiliated with US espionage networks, Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency reported on Sunday. 'The hacked websites acted against Iran's national security under the cover of human rights activities,' Fars reported. It did not disclose details of the attacks. The Internet has been used by Iranian opposition groups who contested the results of last year's elections there to organize demonstrations and share information about protests and arrests. The Revolutionary Guards is a military group that was founded after Iran's 1979 revolution. The group includes conventional army, navy, air force, and intelligence units, as well as the Basij paramilitary force and various business units."
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Iran Hacks US Spy Sites

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  • I'm usually the first one to blame America when I see slanted reporting that seemingly puts our "enemies" in a very poor light, but this time I think we are looking at some pretty piss-poor Iranian folly.

    Websites are passive. They respond to clients. They do not strike out on their own. So "hacking" them and shutting them down isn't really any sort of solution at all.

    The Basij are a pretty rough security force compared to any typical military or paramilitary group. Despite their unprofessionalism, they are at the core of Iranian governmental security. They were instrumental in shutting down the election protests last year.

    • by nicolas.kassis (875270) on Monday March 15, 2010 @11:02AM (#31482148)
      Well, I think what they were trying to prevent is those site providing information to the opposition inside the country. I don't think they meant attacking Iranian's IT infrastructure with websites. Just helping the opposition organize and give them information. In that sense I see why they would want to shut those sites down. On the other hand, I think those sites might be a good thing if they help the Iranian opposition group organize but I'm a biased westerner.
    • by NotBornYesterday (1093817) on Monday March 15, 2010 @11:15AM (#31482302) Journal
      Nice headline. These idiots make it sound like the Basji took down the firewalls at Langley and laid waste to the CIA's cyberwar infrastructure. More appropriate headline: "Iranian script kiddies take down website; blame US".
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        Nice headline. These idiots make it sound like the Basji took down the firewalls at Langley and laid waste to the CIA's cyberwar infrastructure. More appropriate headline: "Iranian script kiddies take down website; blame US".

        Well it is called the "Farce News Agency."

        • by wmac (1107843)
          In Iran they call it "False news agency" and that's because the staff are from Basij and Sepah and they fabricate hundreds of disgusting lies everyday. They even fabricate individuals (as if they are real people) and then talk with them and publish those talks !! Then suddenly photos of the person in Sepah and Basij clothes are discovered from somewhere and put on the internet by people.
      • Nice headline. These idiots make it sound like the Basji took down the firewalls at Langley and laid waste to the CIA's cyberwar infrastructure. More appropriate headline: "Iranian script kiddies take down website; blame US".

        An even more accurate headline: "Iranian government takes down human rights websites, accusing them of 'espionage'."
        • Wrong. You got no proof that they are human rights websites.

          You actually don’t even have proof that the whole thing happened at all.
          You don’t have proof that Iran exists.
          And you don’t have proof that anything, except for yourself, exists at all. ^^

          Really. Try.

      • by AP31R0N (723649)

        Also, it ignores that hacking the website is not the same as hacking internal stuff. The classified internet stuff wasn't touched. They might have made KFC.com say "Burger King ruels! LOLOLOL", but they didn't find the secret ingredient that makes you crave chicken fornightly.

  • It was 29 domains, but some of them pointed to the same site. I wouldn't be surprised if they were CIA fronts. The way back machine has it, but it isn't in English.
  • Spy Websites?!? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nullhero (2983) * on Monday March 15, 2010 @11:02AM (#31482144) Journal
    I thought the idea of being a spy was to stay hidden. Why would you have a site if you are a spy? Oh...I get it to prop up the idea of a cyberwar. So when you get hacked you can tell everyone , "See I told you it was true!". Of course my next question is for the Iranians: dude why would the United State operate a spy website? Do you really think that the US government would put sensitive info in a website? Of course we are talking about the United States so anything is possible.
    • Any serious spies are going to communicate through some deniable,encrypted,stenographic channel so my money is on these poor fuckers being genuine human rights activists who are just going to be called spies and shot.

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        Yup, the real spies probably post pro-government spam with embedded code on common websites if they need to use the web at all. They're more likely to avoid any channel that passes through government control - a dead drop picked up by some guy who hands off to a foreign diplomat is going to be hard to spot. Once the data is in an embassy it can leave the country in any number of ways that are just about impossible to intercept.

        They're not going to do anything that makes themselves stand out, like visit so

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by HungryHobo (1314109)

          I'm still thinking stenography over commonly used channels is still the least conspicuous way.
          I've spent the last few months working on a project that looks for manipulations in images and while it is possible to spot that some kind of stenographic message has been hidden in an image it's essentially impossible to differentiate between stenography and light manipulation(such as with photoshop or any tool which can blur/sharpen an image).
          At the very least they'd need a bank of computers the size of the moon

      • Re:Spy Websites?!? (Score:5, Informative)

        by sjames (1099) on Monday March 15, 2010 @12:12PM (#31483038) Homepage

        They were only U.S. spy sites in the sense that officially no right thinking Iranian would be against the government, so it would have to be a CIA plot Q.E.D.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by GuruBuckaroo (833982)

        Any serious spies are going to communicate through some deniable,encrypted,stenographic channel so my money is on these poor fuckers being genuine human rights activists who are just going to be called spies and shot.

        I think you meant steganographic there. Stenography is shorthand, steganography is hiding content in ways that hide the fact that there is hidden content at all.

    • Flimsy excuse. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nten (709128)

      It is only Iran saying that they were spy websites. Seems like a improvised excuse to censor their own populace to me. Not that they need an excuse, but excuses decrease the amount of resulting discontent. Just using the word "because" in a request has been shown to dramatically boost acquiescence. As has been discussed before, the young educated Iranians that tend to be the ones protesting are quite tech aware on average, it wouldn't surprise me if they set the sites up entirely themselves with no prod

    • What they actually mean here is "websites that support our dissidents". Which may well be true, and it still doesn't make it wrong or criminal.

      It's the exact same thing in Russia. Pretty much all human rights organizations are blamed to be "CIA fronts" with the purpose of "destabilizing the country" via criticism of the government.

    • Re:Spy Websites?!? (Score:4, Informative)

      by hey! (33014) on Monday March 15, 2010 @12:35PM (#31483426) Homepage Journal

      What they're talking about websites that are critical of human rights in Iran. Their contention is that all the bad news about Iran is a western psy-ops ploy.

      Calling such sites "spy websites" is not an oxymoron by any means. Spying isn't just about getting information; it's about planting disinformation too.

      The domains they are targeting mostly belong to one "KEYVAN RAFIEE", with a contact address in a small suburban condo building in Silver Spring MD. It is also the same address used for a small media production company. Some of the domains under that name have as contract address a private home in Woodland CA.

      Overall, this not inconsistent with this Mr. Rafiee being a private human rights activist, nor with him being a frontman for a US intelligence operation.

      That said, the most credible explanation is this is just disinformation on Iran's part. We've all seen the riots, which were definitely not staged. We've all heard the pronouncements of Mr. Ahmadinejad, which stink of propaganda. This does not mean *we* don't have our own propaganda, but it's clear that the Iranian government would try to portray any criticism as being from the CIA, especially given the CIA's unfortunate history in that country.

    • by pcolaman (1208838)

      I think you are missing the point here. What is more plausible? The idea that these were connected to the US and we were just being OMGLOLSTOOPED and left the sites vulnerable, or that these were in fact controlled by Iran and this is all just Propaganda to help justify their position. What's really sad is how many people seem to believe that Iran is somehow capable of performing cyberattacks against legitimate CIA systems. Guarantee you, these sites have no real connection to US Intelligence, and if th

  • Among other shady things we have been up to....

    China (as well as Iran and Al-Jazeera) accused the US in state newspapers of using twitter to sow discord in Iran by creating accounts and distributing false information to get people whipped up during the protests. They even linked to a few of the particularly shady accounts that dont seem to really be people on the ground but gained thousands of followers by supplying news of people being shot in the street and leaders (falsely) being arrested.

    It is no wonder

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HungryHobo (1314109)

      There is no cyberwar but there is certainly a PR war.

      • Does anyone remember during our own elections where people would forward emails to all their friends quoting quoting quoting quoting some email with less-than-100%-factual claims from someone you've never heard of before?

        Was that a cyberwar?
        No, that was PR and the medium was email.

        Just because something you don't like somehow touches the Internet does NOT make it a "cyberwar".

    • Softhack (Score:4, Interesting)

      by nten (709128) on Monday March 15, 2010 @11:23AM (#31482388)

      So one side hacks computers because the other side is using computers to hack brains. I don't consider that just cause. Humans have built in firewalls against BS. Yes they can be overcome, but generally that is called persuasion, or deception depending on the validity of the information being uploaded. And keeping your populace sheltered from the outside might prevent the internet from hacking them, but in face to face conversations they will be even more vulnerable due to their ignorance.

      On the bright side, I can't wait to watch the wars between cognitive dictatorships once we all upload.*

      * Yes someone *has* been reading too much Stross.

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      What evidence do we have that "the US" was doing the lying, and not Iranian dissidents or Iranian expatriots themselves?
  • Considering some (all?) were using Wordpress the hacking may have been trivial depending on what plugins were in use. (or perhaps there is an unknown issue with Wordpress it's self)
    There may not have been that much expertise needed in this "hacking".

    [74.125.95.132] http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:0KLjk6HUgUQJ:www.en-hrana.com/+EN-HRANA.COM&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a [74.125.95.132]
  • Worst summary ever (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DJ Jones (997846) on Monday March 15, 2010 @11:08AM (#31482214) Homepage
    • A website is a passive entity that serves content; there's no such thing as a proactive-espionage-"attack" website. Grow up.
    • They were Iranian human rights websites. The article says (in quotes) that the Fars news network drew a tie to US intelligence with no details to back up that claim.
    • Fars news somehow linked this incident to other US funded groups that were arrested on a different occasion? with no citation.

    First off, Fars news is the equivalent of Fox News in the US. They decide the news before it happens. Second off, the only thing worse than this crappy article with no references is CmdrTaco's poor summary of it that insinuates that the US was funding these sites even though the article says nothing about that being true.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Sollord (888521)
      As much as I dislike Fox News comparing them to fars news is just not fair.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        As much as I dislike fars news comparing them to Fox News is just not fair.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Last time I checked Fars was the mouthpiece of the Iranian government, and Fox has been extremely critical of the current administration and congress. Your analogy is flawed. Also most of what is on Fox is commentary, not news. The "News" on Fox seems to be pretty much like the other news channels: sensational and fluffy with a sprinkle of pseudo-intellectualism.
      • by sjames (1099) on Monday March 15, 2010 @12:19PM (#31483112) Homepage

        Fox also decides what the news is rather than reporting it. They just happen to be attached to the Republican party rather than to the government in general.

        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          "Fox also decides what the news is rather than reporting it. They just happen to be attached to the Republican party rather than to the government in general."

          Well, after I watch a little Fox...I try to then watch a little MSNBC to try to balance things out a bit...they're every bit as antagonistic to the right as Fox is to the left.

          I mean, have you actually watched Keith Olbermann for any length of time? He spews as much vitriol as any right-winger I've ever seen on Fox...hell, he may actually get a bit

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by sjames (1099)

            I didn't say Fox is the only biased and inaccurate news out there. They're pretty much all screwed up one way or another. Fox just happens to be less subtle about it than some of the others. In the case of news that has no political spin value, they'll all spin it as sensational even if it's a non event.

            For example, Mir's gyrodynes failed, so it was rotating once every 90 minutes with respect to Earth. If it was critical, they could have used thrusters to correct it, but it wasn't worth the fuel. CNN called

            • by pcolaman (1208838)

              It's called selling advertising, and all of the news networks will spin things as sensational in order to continue to get the advertisers to buy spots. If you follow the out of control space vessel continuously for like two hours, that's two hours worth of news + ad spots that you will see. Hence, if it was just all "Well, the space vessel is spinning but we're hearing it's okay nothing to worry about here" then of course you won't be watching for two hours straight and the advertisers are all like "OMGWT

              • by sjames (1099)

                Of course they do it for the cash. The question is how far they'll go for the cash.

                Many news agencies these days are just like a cheap hooker. Like the cheap hooker, I prefer to stay away from them so I don't catch anything (amongst other reasons).

                • by pcolaman (1208838)

                  It just makes me laugh when I hear all of these people and their conspiracy theories about how *Insert Network Name Here* is in *Insert Political Party Here*'s pocket. They are in the pockets of stockholders and advertisers. The slant they provide is just a means of gaining *Insert Demographic Here*'s viewership in order to sell advertising.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DJ Jones (997846)
        OK... and Fox News is the mouth piece of the Republican Party. The fact that Rupert Mudoch's media machine is openly against a democratic administration is not surprising to anyone. My analogy is not flawed, I merely alluded to the fact that the opinions put forth by both Fox News and Fars News are decided well before the facts are divulged. They are equivalent propaganda machines with heavy ties to one political party. Neither one can be considered a respectable "news" organization by any journalistic sta
    • by geekoid (135745)

      um, where have you been? I can create a website that attacks people, in fact many exists. How many bot nets are running on servers?

      I can write a script to begin an attack at a certain time or event.

  • by Ziekheid (1427027) on Monday March 15, 2010 @11:09AM (#31482228)

    Government related sites are hacked continously, it's just that only few stories actually arrive in "mainstream" media about it.
    Have a look at the zone-h archive of defacements and note the number of .gov.X sites in the list: http://zone-h.org/archive/special=1 [zone-h.org]

  • . . . why would any self-respecting hacker announce it? If there was anything of any real value on there, why not continue to quietly gather as much info as you could? This stinks worse than Pelosi's jock strap.
  • Bad Article Title (Score:3, Informative)

    by introspekt.i (1233118) on Monday March 15, 2010 @11:15AM (#31482292)
    The title acts as if Iran actually did hack 29 US "spy sites" (wtf). Whether or not this is actually true remains to be seen. The article has a little trouble using quotations, or at least maybe that's how people do it in the UK? I don't mean that as an offense, but rather, in US papers we seem to pepper the articles with double quote marks.

    It was not clear whether HRAI had ties to US intelligence organisations or whether the Fars report labeled them as such due to their apparent sympathy for opposition protesters. The Fars report did not tie any of the websites to a specific US government entity.

    This article seems shoddy to me, as these claims are as of yet unsubstantiated. Why doesn't Iran use its magic firewall to block these sites instead of hack them? Smells like a publicity stunt against to me.

    • by rahvin112 (446269) on Monday March 15, 2010 @11:31AM (#31482488)

      The Iranian Government has been desperate to tie the current protests to US involvement. Without that connection they are beating up their own people, with the connection they are stopping "the great satan" from interfering in their internal affairs. I don't know why this surprises anyone, they put people to death a few weeks ago by saying they were working for the west. They are desperate to convince their own public that these election protests have been orchestrated by the US, in fact I would go so far as to say that the more paranoid members of their government are convinced of such and will do anything including manufacturing evidence of such to convince the general public they are right.

      If these protests are all internally comprised they are no better than the shah, and regardless of how they feel about things they don't want to have themselves compared to him. They greatly fear that what happened to the shah could happen to them, they must convince everyone that the US is involved so they justify their own repressive actions.

      • Their government is doing a wise thing. No one denies now that western intelligence had a hand at Ukrainian "orange" revolution. How well has it worked out for them? Several years of complete incompetence from western sponsored leaders, totally ruined economy, and now they voted back the very man whose victory was taken away the first time with the help of the West. Same thing with the "Rose" revolution in Georgia.
        I have very little doubt that the West was/is involved in whipping up the protests in Iran h
    • by DeadCatX2 (950953)

      The article has a little trouble using quotations, or at least maybe that's how people do it in the UK? I don't mean that as an offense, but rather, in US papers we seem to pepper the articles with double quote marks.

      Peppered [salon.com] with quotes [salon.com] attributed to [salon.com] anonymous [salon.com], unnamed sources [salon.com].

      I don't see the practical difference between a lack of quotation marks and a lack of sources. Both are so prone to bullshit as to be worthless.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LWATCDR (28044)

      A terrible story with a terrible summary on the font page of Slashdot.
      So what else is new?
      Really I tend to give the slashdot some slack but this is just terrible. I mean really what are they thinking. And yes I know CW posted this trash but Slashdot doesn't have to repeat it.

  • Obviously these loons have attended the Tariq Aziz School of Public Relations.

  • Why are all these government spy groups in China and Iran using traceable IP's? Why not just send their spy to any place in the EU or US with enough money to buy a laptop with a wireless connection and do their hacking by hopping on unencrypted wireless networks? It's like spy's are getting ultra lazy and sloppy. Like with the assasination in dubi a few weeks back. Why were the spys caught on camera? Didn't it dawn on them they they should have taken out the camera system to cover their tracks so that
  • If the CIA creates a bunch of generic Human Rights websites (read: Honeypot), and Iran hacks them, can the US gov't via the United Nations or Fox News or whatever basically start telling the world that Iran as a gov't is hacking websites?

    • by H0p313ss (811249)

      If the CIA creates a bunch of generic Human Rights websites (read: Honeypot), and Iran hacks them, can the US gov't via the United Nations or Fox News or whatever basically start telling the world that Iran as a gov't is hacking websites?

      It would seem they don't need to. The Iranian government seems to be quite happy to tell the world they've done it.

  • in this link on the left menu list http://www.keygenmusic.net/?lang=en [keygenmusic.net]

    they will set iran government straight if they have the motivation to. after all this is a valid case of freedom - people vs tyrants.

    btw site compiles keygen musics. top 100 list really worth listening to.

  • At some point (I think we're already there) our computer infrastructure becomes so important to a nation that a cyber attack could be construed as an act of war. I wonder how long it will be before we see a physical military response to a cyber attack. We've already seen evidence that China attacked Google's corporate infrastructure a few months ago. Is this really all that dissimilar than Chinese agents coming to the US and physically breaking into Google's buildings? To relate things to the article, if it
    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      To relate things to the article, if it could be shown that Iran was indeed attacking CIA sites, would the US be justified in bombing Iranian intelligence facilities?

      No, because in the highly unlikely case that these were actually CIA sites, they would have been clandestine sites posing as legitimate human rights sites.

      You don't go to war over someone hacking your clandestine intelligence front sites any more than you would go to war over someone capturing one of your spies. You just write off the asset (or

  • Since Iran's government sees hacking US websites as a legitimate activity, I take it that they don't mind either NSA folks or grassroot democracy enthusiasts hacking details of Iranian presidential security or nuclear reactor controls.

  • I can see my house from here!

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