LulzSec vs Murdoch: the lessons, and what’s next?

LulzSec’s hack of The Sun and other UK websites belonging to Rupert Murdoch’s News International yesterday was one of the highest-profile infosec breaches in history. But will it mean anything beyond today’s news cycle? I suspect not.

(If you’re not up to speed on this, please read my initial summary for CSO Online or a shorter but fresher story for Crikey.)

As I thought about this overnight, and after chatting with Paul Ducklin from information security vendor Sophos, I came to the conclusion that despite all the media coverage yesterday nothing will change.

I wrote that up as an op-ed for CSO Online, Four lessons from LulzSec vs Murdoch.

We’ve seen hack after hack after hack, but civilisation has stubbornly refused to crumble. We’ve cried wolf a few hundred times too often. We’re experiencing what Paul Ducklin from Sophos calls “hack fatigue”.

We only hear about successful hacks, from LulzSec or anyone else, Ducklin told CSO Online. “They can crow about every time they have a success,” he said, “but you never hear about the sites they never broke into.”

And the idea that LulzSEc’s high-profile hacks will suddenly focus attention on organisation’s information security vulnerabilities? Bah. We’ve been flooded with media reports of high-profile hacks for the last few years, from NATO to Paris Hilton, Google to prime minister Gillard.

After all those stories we held urgent meetings, changed our ways, and put infosec at the top of the business agenda, right?

Yeah right.

So now what? I’ll put my money on LulzSec being forgotten until their next high-profile attack, or their arrest.

[Picture: Early this morning Australian time, LulzSec tweeted: “The Sun taken care of… now what about the moon…”, linking to that image (source unknown). Is it a hint? Or a meaningless distraction?]

Talking hacker arrests on ABC’s “The World Today”

While I was busy writing an op-ed on the LulzSec vs Murdoch saga this morning — and I’ll post more about that momentarily — I got a phone call from ABC Radio’s lunchtime current affairs program The World Today to comment on the FBI’s arrest of alleged Anonymous-connected hackers overnight.

The story is TransAtlantic arrests target hackers, and if you click through you’ll get both transcript and audio. You’ll hear me, as well as Patrick Gray, presenter of the Risky Business podcast on information security. The reporter is Sarah Dingle.

I’d be interested to know what you think of these arrests.

Patrick reckons they arrested nobodies.

This current batch of arrests will “bring to justice” a bunch of people who made no attempt to conceal their actions because they’re either technically useless or just didn’t care.

They’re “low hanging anons”.

But that won’t stop the mainstream media from portraying this as the establishment striking back at online troublemakers.

I reckon that while that may or may not be true, the computers the FBI has just seized will be handy evidence when it comes to tracking down other culprits. After all, their operational security has hardly been world class.

Talking LulzSec vs Murdoch on ABC 774 Melbourne

I knew as soon as I posted my CSO Online and Crikey stories about the hack of the News International websites including The Sun this morning that I’d be asked to do some radio spots.

If you missed the story, this morning I posted a screenshot of the fake story posted on The Sun.

Sure enough, this afternoon I chatted with Lindy Burns on ABC 774 Melbourne. And here’s the audio.

The audio is ©2011 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, but it hasn’t been posted on their website so here it is. In return, I reckon you might choose to listen to Lindy Burns’ drive program some time soon.

I also spoke with Bernadette Young on ABC Gold Coast, but my phone kept dropping out. I did record the audio, but it covered much the same territory. Would you like me to post it?

LulzSec claims to hack The Sun: screenshot

High-profile hacking collective LulzSec is currently claiming to have hacked UK newspaper The Sun and redirected its home page to a fake story about the suicide of Rupert Murdoch.

While The Sun was looking just fine to me, there was certainly a story inserted into a News International website.

The screenshot shows the page at www.new-times.co.uk/sun/ as of about 0730 AEST this morning.

Gizmodo is currently saying the home page was hacked, but they’re also saying the hack was done by Anonymous. That’s journalism right there.

At 0815 AEST LulzSec then claimed to have redirected The Sun home page to their Twitter feed. I’ve just confirmed that to be true.

Since I write about information security, it looks like I’m in for a busy day. I’ll update this post as things unfold.

[Update 0910 AEST: I’ve had many witnesses confirm that The Sun’s home page did indeed redirect to the fake story. I will assume for the moment that the Next G mobile broadband I’m currently using is cached to buggery.]

[Update 1015 AEST: My story at CSO Online has just been published, LulzSec hacks UK’s “The Sun”, News International. Meanwhile, a few minutes ago LulzSec claimed that “News International’s DNS servers (link web addresses to servers) and all 1,024 web addresses are down.”]

[Update 1235 AEST: The consensus seems to be that News International has taken itself offline. There has been no further activity from LulzSec, apart from more of their trademark cocky tweets.]

[Update 1415 AEST: My Crikey story is now online, LulzSec 1, Murdoch 0: News Int, the hacker, becomes the hacked.]

[Update 1840 AEST: I’ve just posted audio of my interview with ABC 774 Melbourne on this story.]

Talking voicemail hacking on 1395 FIVEaa Adelaide

It seems that awareness of the News of the World voicemail hacking scandal is starting to spread from media-about-the-media like Crikey through the mainstream current affairs programs to, well, mainstream talk radio.

Earlier this morning I was interviewed on the topic by Adelaide radio 1395 FIVEaa, and here’s the audio.

It was kinda fun to be interviewed by presenters Keith Conlon and John Kenneally. Keith taught me how to do radio when I started in that medium and he was station manager at what is now Radio Adelaide. I later worked with him and with John at the ABC. And the newsreader I heard just before our interview, Jane Doyle, was at the ABC at that time too. Small world.

The audio is ©2011 dmgRadio Australia, but since they don’t post many of their live interviews I’m doing their job for them. Besides, it’s not as if I get paid, and it’s not as if this ain’t a decent plug for them.

Talking voicemail hacking on ABC TV’s “7.30”

I was interviewed by ABC TV’s current affairs program 7.30 yesterday for a story about voicemail hacking, More allegations against Murdoch media.

Interestingly, most of the soundbites we recorded were about how easy it is to access someone’s voicemail, but the resulting story was more about whether something like the News of the World scandal could already be happening in Australia.

Recording this piece was a pleasant reminder of working in daily live radio. The pace is kinda fun. The ABC called me at 2.15pm, and arranged for the crew to meet me at 3.15pm. We drove to a nearby park and recorded the main interview as well as the cutaways in a total of 45 minutes. And that was in between the noise of aircraft taking off, motor cycles, and pedestrians and cyclists walking between me and the camera.

I’m shown using both laptop and phone. Does that put me into the category of mouse-using TV expert?