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Government Security

65% of Washington DC's Outdoor Surveillance Cameras Infiltrated by Romanian Hackers (thehill.com) 85

An anonymous reader quotes The Hill: Two Romanian hackers stand accused of hacking more than 100 outdoor police security cameras in the D.C. area during the days leading up to President Trump's inauguration, according to a court document obtained by CNN. According to an affidavit from Secret Service agent James Graham, Mihai Alexandru Isvanca and Eveline Cismaru are accused of hacking and disabling 123 out of 187 of the city's cameras between Jan. 12 and Jan. 15... Isvanca and Cismaru are also accused in the affidavit of spreading ransomware.
In a possibly-related story, the Washington Post reports: Five Romanian hackers were arrested over the past week as part of an international investigation into computer ransomware, officials in the United States and Europe said Wednesday. In six houses across Romania, law enforcement operatives from Romania, Britain, the United States and the Netherlands seized hard drives, laptops, external storage devices and documents related to malicious software called CTB-Locker or Critroini.
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65% of Washington DC's Outdoor Surveillance Cameras Infiltrated by Romanian Hackers

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  • Where I live, all the supermarket entries are swamped by aggressive Roma beggars who are not satisfied with my picture.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      (posting anonymously because SJW shit)
      Roma people are an ethnicity which is not endemic to Romania, although many of them are of Romanian nationality.
      Less than 3 decades ago, when Roma people were marginalized in Romania, the Western Europe countries jumped and gave Romania stern warnings, so Romania said "fine, they're free to do whatever they want". So they spread out to the western countries, doing the same things they had been doing in Romania (for which they were marginalized in the first place). And N

  • It sounds like a particular model camera the city was using had an exploit. But...

    Why did they bother? I can't think of what they had to gain unless they were setting up a blanket for some other activity that would be caught by those cameras. But that didn't happen but they are going to pay a pretty heavy price for it.

    So was it just for the lulz? (I know that is a dated term but I can't think of a better word right now.)

    • Why did they bother?

      Could be practice in a real-world scenario. These cameras might not offer anything of particular value, but it might help the hackers get some experience in these kinds of things for cases where the cameras might offer much juicier information.

      Either that or they're just bored hackers and hacking things is what they do. They compromise a system because it's there [wikiquote.org].

    • It sounds like a particular model camera the city was using had an exploit. But...

      Why did they bother? I can't think of what they had to gain unless they were setting up a blanket for some other activity that would be caught by those cameras. But that didn't happen but they are going to pay a pretty heavy price for it.

      So was it just for the lulz? (I know that is a dated term but I can't think of a better word right now.)

      If they catch pics of various congress people with other women / men that could be valuable. Blanket surveillance would nab lots of interesting finds for such an unethical group.

    • Probably doing it for Putin so he could have his Rump puppet do his bidding and spy on Americans. Now that we are Rump-ruled, Rump is spying on us for his master Putin. That's how things be.

    • Why did they bother?

      Video surveillance of a wide area around the US Capitol Washington, D.C. area would likely be considered very valuable to foreign intelligence services and terrorist organizations.

      It would enable the gathering of a great deal of intelligence. See who is having little 'walk & talks' with whom (possibly reconstructing what was said in some instances), track and determine patrol schedules of police and plain-clothes security service personnel, determine patterns of movement/travel for VIPs, and more.

      No, th

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        In other words, the "real problem" is that the wrong unethical bastards got control of the Panopticon.

        The only way to make that problem go away is to take the cameras down.

      • No, they had a potential goldmine.

        Well if that was what they were after it was pretty stupid to allow the cameras go offline. For their goldmine to be viable they would tap the video and do as much as they could to make sure they weren't detected. Instead, they crashed the devices forcing the owners to find out what was wrong.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Depends on the part of the USA. Build a vast database of US workers with a security clearance who work at a local camp, fort, base, port, mil factory?
      Facial recognition and license plates in and out of any US secure site. Same for local city investigators, police, federal investigators, federal state task force members.
      No undercover operation could remain a secret or start without been in a database.
      A real time database of most US police, federal workers, investigators, informants as they go to work
  • Good. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I hope it will be harder for the DC government/police to get convictions against anti-Trump demonstrators. Anyone who shuts down surveillance systems does humanity a service.
  • by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Saturday December 23, 2017 @02:07PM (#55796587)

    Ah HA!
    So that's why the lamestream fake news media reported such small numbers of people at the Trump Inauguration!
    There were really millions more but the Romanians erased them from the cameras.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Well, in the UK the Romanians have been demonised and used as a main reason to convince people to vote for Brexit.
    Now it seems that in the USA the scapegoating is in full swing and, surprise, surprise, the Romanians are targeted as well.
    Probably Putin frowned at the whole bruhaha about the Russian interference in the elections, so the brave Secret Service agents need a more convenient scapegoat, prefferably one wihout the Russian military behind it.

  • When I first read the headline, I thought it said Romulan. Like Star Trek aliens were taking over.
  • ... is "free." because you don't have to pay to use the shit attached to it.

  • Police camera video should be viewable by the public or the cameras should be removed. The public should have exactly the same access as the police to this video.

    • Police camera video should be viewable by the public or the cameras should be removed. The public should have exactly the same access as the police to this video.

      Then crime might actually get solved. Or vigilante violence could solve it. I'm always amused at certain groups that go to great lengths to mark themselves. If the general population ever really wants to solve MS13 as an example just send a mob door to door. Have the gang tatoos and you get shot. It's admittedly extreme but it would fix the problem in a single day.

      • by gtall ( 79522 )

        Yes, let's have armed civilians wandering around taking pot shots at people they think are gangbangers. So if a few children get whacked in the cross fire or nailed by Bubba who swore they were pulling a gun on him. Of course this is not all that different from what currently goes on with the gun nuts.

    • Police camera video should be viewable by the public or the cameras should be removed. The public should have exactly the same access as the police to this video.

      No. I don't want everything I do in public subject to showing up on Facebook et al. I'd go along with requiring the cops to make it available for viewing at a station or other facility, but with no copying allowed, absent a court order.

      • by Kohath ( 38547 )

        I'd go along with requiring the cops to make it available for viewing at a station or other facility, but with no copying allowed, absent a court order.

        Then that should be the only access the police get.

      • by Kohath ( 38547 )

        No. I don't want everything I do in public subject to showing up on Facebook et al.

        Also, you're being naive and short-sighted here. There are going to be cameras everywhere, all the time. Every store, every house, every car. You can wish against it, but it's going to happen anyway. Automatic face recognition is going to get better and cheaper. Stuff you do in public will be knowable to the public. Don't tell yourself otherwise.

    • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Saturday December 23, 2017 @02:55PM (#55796777)
      So you think what happened when the public tried to identify the Boston Bombers [bbc.com] from surveillance footage is a good thing? It basically became a modern-day Salem Witch Hunt. While police corruption is certainly possible and needs to be rooted out, we've given police the task of criminal investigations precisely because we can then train a handful of investigators of these fallacies and how to avoid them, instead of having to train the entire public. It's a protective mechanism we've developed to prevent witch hunts. Opening up all cameras to the public short-circuits that protection.

      Unfortunately, our basic psychology makes us easily fall for things which sound right but are wrong [wikipedia.org]. Investigators reviewing surveillance video footage have at least some training to avoid falling for the most common of those fallacies when identifying a suspect. If you throw a bunch of random untrained people from the public into that role, they'll usually end up falling for groupthink [wikipedia.org] and confirmation bias [wikipedia.org] leading them to the wrong conclusion. (Releasing the footage after the investigation is done via a court order or FOIA can still be done.)
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Kohath ( 38547 )

        So you think what happened when ... is a good thing?

        Spare us this ridiculous argument please.

        People who are against alcohol prohibition aren't in favor of drunk drivers killing babies in car accidents, much less a specific baby being killed in a specific accident.

        See "Appeal to Emotion" in the list of fallacies you linked to.

        While police corruption is certainly possible and needs to be rooted out, we've given police the task of criminal investigations precisely because we can then train a handful of investigators of these fallacies and how to avoid them

        Police are ordinary citizens like everyone else. They should be treated like ordinary citizens. "Police corruption" isn't the big problem. The big problem is that the police think they're a force apart from and above the people. That

  • who's gonna get convicted for not:

    1. validating that they're securable, and
    2. then securing them?

  • A few Romanians arrested, but there will be plenty more to replace them as long as the manufacturers and vendors care little about security. The only way of doing that is to make the local hight street store liable - they will then stop selling you the cheapest that they can buy; so then all that you will have to worry about are state sponsored crackers who deliberately place back doors in these things.

  • The entire west is ruled by one world government and the borders only exist to soothe people and stop them from a reactionary backlash against globalism.

  • Does it still count as hacking if the camera comes preloaded with a telnet backdoor with login admin:123456 and publishes its IP address to several chinese dyndns servers as soon as you plug it into the internet?

  • Am I the only one who thinks this is super awesome? The surveillance state is incompatible with a free society and deeply unamerican. All failures for the Stasi are wins for the American people.

  • The "S: if for security. ;)

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."

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