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Iranian Hacker Group Created Fake News Organization For Social Engineering 57

Posted by timothy
from the won't-you-be-my-neighbor dept.
itwbennett (1594911) writes "A suspected Iranian hacker group seeded Facebook and LinkedIn with bogus profiles of attractive women and even created a fake online news organization to get digitally closer to more than 2,000 U.S. military members, defense contractors and lobbyists it wanted to spy on, according to a report by security consultancy iSight Partners. The group is suspected to be in Iran, based on their working patterns and the location of their command-and-control infrastructure, said Patrick McBride, vice president of iSight's marketing and communications. Their activity is consistent with government-sponsored espionage campaigns, but 'we don't have anything specific tying them back to the government,' he added." Adds reader wiredmikey (1824622): "The recently uncovered activity, which iSIGHT Partners calls NEWSCASTER, was a 'brazen, complex multi-year cyber-espionage that used a low-tech approach to avoid traditional security defenses–exploiting social media and people who are often the 'weakest link' in the security chain.' ... Working undetected since 2011, targets included senior U.S. military and diplomatic personnel, congressional personnel, Washington D.C. area journalists, U.S. think tanks, and defense contractors in the U.S. and Israel."
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Iranian Hacker Group Created Fake News Organization For Social Engineering

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  • News Organizations (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2014 @01:12PM (#47120935)

    I thought all news organizations were created for social engineering purposes.

    • by s.petry (762400)
      Not created for that purpose, but surely get taken over and used for that purpose. Most people creating "News" sites do so for altruistic reasons (not all obviously). But like all other forms of power, get vacuumed up because certain people want it all.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      The phrase "social engineering" strikes me as off-key too. Evidently we have so completely bought into the idea that intelligence is fundamentally a technical activity rather than a social one, that we now consider using social means just a trick to accomplish what is fundamentally a technical goal. Which is to say, we are bass-ackwards.

      Getting close to important people to learn what they're thinking isn't some clever new thing, it is fundamental intelligence work. Maybe we should get back into that i

  • wot (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Wait, are you trying to tell me there are social news groups out there telling... truth? You gotta be lying!

  • Thank goodness the NSA was on top of this and notified everyone of the threat. Tanks NSA...

  • targets included senior U.S. military and diplomatic personnel, congressional personnel, Washington D.C. area journalists, U.S. think tanks, and defense contractors in the U.S. and Israel

    You know, you'd really like to hope that organizations like this would be getting more security training.

    But, I guess, some of the people who are supposed to work with the press are meant to be complete media whores, and the senior people all think the rules don't apply to them.

    I know my company does phishing tests fairly r

    • Re:Weakest links? (Score:4, Informative)

      by oodaloop (1229816) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @01:50PM (#47121347)
      Defense contractor here, and we get tons of training on how to avoid phishing and other cyber threats, espionage, sabotage, active shooter, equal opportunity, sexual harasment, emergency occupant, ad nauseum. For many people, it's in one ear and out the other.
      • by k6mfw (1182893)
        what about training to secure your finances i.e. retirement funds from Wall Street predators?
  • Propaganda again? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jmc23 (2353706) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @01:47PM (#47121301) Journal
    No proof Iran had anything to do with it, but hey, it fortifies our Israel propaganda.

    This looks more like a scare tactic by the companies that make a living off of detecting these 'cyber' attacks.

    And to top it all off, there's nothing new here, it's just basic social engineering. I would actually suspect this coming more from cultures that are used to social engineering.

    • by myoparo (933550)

      Yeah no proof Iran had anything to do with it... except when you look at the WHOIS information for that domain.

      • by Jmc23 (2353706)
        Wait, are you saying super scary trained evil hacker/spy agencies have never heard of 'spoofing'?

        Which is it, are they idiots or do we need to be scared of them? Especially when the tactics they are using depend on the US people being idiots?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2014 @01:49PM (#47121341)

    But apparently it's only news when our competitors do it.

    • But apparently it's only news when competitors for our PetroDollars do it.

      FTFY. I have no quarrel with any of the Iranian people.

  • by T.E.D. (34228) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @02:07PM (#47121579)

    bogus profiles of attractive women and even created a fake online news organization to get digitally closer to more than 2,000 U.S. military members, defense contractors and lobbyists it wanted to spy on,

    Wait! So the Iranians actually created Fox News as a way to mess with the minds of American right wingers, and undermine the country?

    Why, that's just...well...actually it explains a lot.

    • bogus profiles of attractive women and even created a fake online news organization to get digitally closer to more than 2,000 U.S. military members, defense contractors and lobbyists it wanted to spy on,

      Wait! So the Iranians actually created Fox News as a way to mess with the minds of American right wingers, and undermine the country?

      Iranians? No, no, no, that's just crazy.

      You're thinking of the Saudis [wikipedia.org]

    • bogus profiles of attractive women and even created a fake online news organization to get digitally closer to more than 2,000 U.S. military members, defense contractors and lobbyists it wanted to spy on,

      Wait! So the Iranians actually created Fox News as a way to mess with the minds of American right wingers, and undermine the country?

      Why, that's just...well...actually it explains a lot.

      Well,no.

      Fox is Saudi owned, not Iranian.

      Ever wondered why Iraq got attacked after 9/11?

  • That would NEVER fly here in the US.
  • by GPLDAN (732269) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @02:35PM (#47121897)
    ..when the "hot chicks" were Nancy Pelosi and Rosie O'Donnell.
  • How dare they make a fake news agency for propaganda purposes! We would never do something like... er... oh wait...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V... [wikipedia.org]

  • So they created another Fox News?

When Dexter's on the Internet, can Hell be far behind?"

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