Hackers were busy this week, as both the nation of Finland and Singapore's largest newspaper have come under attack from cyber foes. That's just days after Syrian hackers claimed to break into President Obama's Twitter account and on the heels of news about an attack on Adobe that affected 38 million accounts.
According to Finnish television channel MTV3, the malware was injected into the computer systems of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the course of four years. The goal was to intercept communication between the European Union and Finland. News reports indicate Finland is pointing a finger at China and Russia as possible suspects in the attack.
Reuters indicates that Erkki Tuomioja, Finland's foreign minister, told reporters Thursday after MTV3 reported the hacking incident: "I can confirm there has been a severe and large hacking in the ministry's data network ."
Anonymous Threatens War
In other hacking news, Anonymous targeted Singapore Press Holdings' Straight Times. An Anonymous member who calls himself "Messiah" posted a message on the paper's Web site accusing editors of distorting its words by reporting that the "hacktivist" group is at war with Singapore rather than the government.
According to Bloomberg, Anonymous wants Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to change its Internet regulations. Since June 1, Singapore regulations require sites that publish news about the state to be licensed. Essentially, news sites are now regulated the same as other media. Hackers uploaded a video to YouTube featuring a man in a Guy Fawkes mask demanding the change to the censoring tactics.
"We demand you reconsider the regulations of your framework or we will be forced to go to war with you," according to a computer-generated voice on the YouTube video. "For every time you deprive a citizen his right to information, we will cost you financial loss by aggressive cyber intrusion."
Trust No One, Protect Everything
We caught up with Chester Wisniewski, a senior security adviser at Sophos, to get his feedback on the attacks. He told us it's not surprising to see a Web site like the Straight Times attacked as part of the claims some folks declaring themselves Anonymous made after recent Internet censorship moves by the Singaporean government.
"It was likely opportunistic, like previous Anonymous attacks, where you throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. Attacks like this are usually the result of SQL injection flaws in the site or weak or phished passwords," Wisniewski said.
"Spying has moved to the digital realm a long time ago, yet it appears that many governments have not invested sufficiently in protecting their critical infrastructure and secrets. Digital interception paints a nearly complete picture of intent and action when it comes to diplomacy. Every government should expect and be looking for digital foreign agents and not just traitors like Edward Snowden. Trust no one, protect everything."