US spy chief James Clapper’s online accounts hacked

Posted on: 09:45 AM IST Jan 13, 2016

Washington: US spy chief James Clapper’s personal online accounts have been hacked, his office confirmed Tuesday, a few months after CIA director John Brennan suffered a similar attack.

Clapper’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence confirmed the hack but refused to provide details.

A teen hacker who goes by “Cracka” claimed to have hacked Clapper’s home telephone and Internet accounts, his personal email, and his wife’s Yahoo email.

“We are aware of the matter and we reported it to the appropriate authorities,” spokesman Brian Hale told AFP.

A teen hacker who goes by “Cracka” claimed to have hacked Clapper’s home telephone and Internet accounts, his personal email, and his wife’s Yahoo email, online magazine Motherboard reported.

Cracka told Motherboard that he had changed the settings on Clapper’s Verizon account so that calls to his home were rerouted to the California-based Free Palestine Movement.

Cracka is part of the “Crackas with Attitude” group, which broke into Brennan’s personal email account last year.

Hackers from the group have said they are teenage high school students.

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US intelligence director’s phone account was hacked, office says

The top US spy had his phone account hacked, his office confirmed Tuesday.

James Clapper, the director of national intelligence (DNI), appears to have become the latest government official who had a personal account accessed by a hacker. In October, CIA director John Brennan said he was “outraged” after a still-anonymous hacker or hackers broke into his AOL email account and posted files online.

“We are aware of the matter and have notified the appropriate authorities,” DNI spokesman Brian Hale said in a written statement.
A group of self-described teenagers claimed credit for the Brennan incident. Motherboard, a tech site run by Vice Media, published Tuesday an account of the Clapper hack based on a source claiming to be linked to the Brennan hack.

The hacker allegedly accessed Clapper’s Verizon account so that calls to the director would be forwarded to the Free Palestine Movement. The hacker also claimed to have accessed Clapper’s wife’s personal email account.

The incident is rudimentary by hacker standards. As the director of national intelligence, Clapper has authorized hacking operations that are much more sophisticated for foreign intelligence operations.

But stopping a computer intrusion is much harder than launching one. In this case, the hackers would have had to guess his password or trick him into revealing it.

“What it does is to underscore just how vulnerable people are to those who want to cause harm,” Brennan, the CIA director, said after his breach, according to a CNN report. “We really have to evolve to deal with these new threats and challenges.”

James Clapper Email Hacked: Teenager Behind CIA Scandal Reportedly Breaks Into Intelligence …

The teenager who claimed to have broken into CIA Director John Brennan’s email account last year may have struck again. The United States’ Office of the Director of National Intelligence confirmed to reporters Wednesday that James Clapper’s account had been compromised.

“We’re aware of the matter and we reported it to the appropriate authorities,” spokesman Brian Hale told Motherboard, which first reported the hack. Hale also confirmed the incident to NBC News, though he did not give further details.

The alleged hacker, who calls himself “Cracka,” contacted Motherboard Monday to boast that he’d accessed the director of national intelligence’s personal email, home phone and Internet as well as his wife’s email. Cracka said he forwarded all of Clapper’s home phone calls to the Free Palestine Movement, which the hacker has previously named as the inspiration behind his hacking sprees.

“I just wanted the gov to know people aren’t f*****g around, people know what they’re doing and people don’t agree #FreePalestine,” Cracka told Motherboard.

Cracka, who said in the New York Post last year that he was a marijuana-smoking high school student, claimed to have gained access to Brennan’s email in October. The hacker posted Brennan’s contact list and other screenshots on Twitter, while WikiLeaks published some of the CIA leader’s documents that same month. “What it does is to underscore just how vulnerable people are to those who want to cause harm,” Brennan told reporters. “We really have to evolve to deal with these new threats and challenges.”

Clapper, 74, has been the director of national intelligence since 2010. He was accused of perjury in 2013 for denying that the government secretly collected Americans’ data. Clapper later said he “simply didn’t think” about the National Security Agency at the time, according to the Guardian.

Cyber space and children: How safe are they?

First in a series

Parents of children old enough to surf the Internet often worry – and rightfully so – about what their child might be seeing online. Without common blocks on whichever search engine they use, a child can easily be inundated with pornography and violence so graphic that even the worst video games available pale in comparison.

These are well known facts, and in response, most parents take care to ensure their children are unable to reach those sites. However, there are many sites young people use on a daily basis that are just as bad and far more dangerous according to Cyber Crimes Specialist Eric Tamashasky who also doubles as a Deputy Prosecutor in Saint Joseph County.

Tamashasky recently spoke at length during a Youth Worker Cafe sponsored by the Indiana Youth Institute and Build A Better Blackford Community Foundation at Blackford County High School.

Tamashasky has attended several Secret Service training schools on cell phone forensics as well as having extensive training in online safety.

Tamashasky opened the seminar by saying, “When I talk to kids at schools I don’t talk to them from a morality standpoint. They don’t need me coming in there telling them it’s bad, don’t do it. They need to see what is.”

“They need to know how they can protect their privacy,” he continued. “If they can do that, we’re all doing something better.”

“The first thing I ask them,” Tamashasky said, “is how many of them have been hacked. Whether its Facebook or Instagram, it’s usually well more than half the group I talk to. Which means that people are trying to get into the kids’ stuff.”

Passwords are the key

According to Tamashasky, poorly constructed passwords are the number one reason hackers are able to access online accounts. “When you have a bad password, it’s easy to get into an account,” he said.

“If I’m sitting beside them in the library and they type in 12345 as their password, as soon as they get up, I sit down and guess what? I’m them,” he explained.

Tamashasky recommends using a sentence a student will remember to make up a hard to crack password. Something along the lines of: The Bruins will win every game in 2016 because they rock.

“If they use the first letter of word to create a password that can be hacked in 22 minutes,” he said. “So what you want is a mixture of upper and lower case letters. It doesn’t matter how you do it. You just need to get the up and down going, then 22 minutes turns into 8 days.”

“Notre Dame was founded in 1842,” he said. “I’ve seen that on sweatshirts. This is a great password. It could take a million years to hack that password. Here’s why, when a hacker tries to get into an account they use what are called rainbow tables. Rainbow tables are filled with movie quotes, the oxford dictionary, songs and quotes from books.

“So if the password is someone’s name, or something that makes sense, it’s susceptible to hacking,” he continued and pointed to the jumble of letters on the overhead screen, “This garbage is not. If you get flashy you can put in punctuation, Michigan fans could throw in a question mark, and if you do that…two billion years to break the password.”

Different passwords recommended for every site

Tamashasky also recommends having a different password for every site. “The reason this works, everyone on the Internet now encrypts their passwords. Encryption only goes one way. So the way the hackers do it is they run the same algorithm on Facebook that they know Facebook uses to encrypt the pass codes, when they get a match the password pops out. You do this and even though it gets compromised on one site, it’s not going to give them access to every site you’re on.

“If the same password is used in every place and one gets hacked, they are all compromised,” he insisted.

Lie on your security questions

According to Tamashasky, security questions for passwords are one of the main reasons people get hacked. “This is how celebrities and famous people, and children are getting hacked,” he said.

“When you make an online account, the Internet tries to help you,” he explained. “What they do is ask you random questions that help you if you forget your password. If you know the answers, you can get back in. The problem is, anyone with Google can find out that information and answer those questions and at some point get into the account.”

“There are no good questions,” he said. “There are good answers. The answer is lie. Never tell the truth. If the kids are honest, they will get hacked. This is where the kids are getting torn apart. They are deathly afraid of losing their accounts, so when they get the security questions, they answer the easiest question so they’ll always know.

“That question is the same one that their entire class knows,” he said. “It’s the one their entire neighborhood knows, their buss knows. That’s why their privacy is not secure on any of these sites.

“You’ve got to fix these two things,” he advised. “If the passwords are fixed and the questions are fixed, the account security is as good as we are going to get.”

In the next installment of this series, Tamashasky will address other cyber security issues for teens and adults. Look for it in Thursday’s edition of The News-Times.

Hacker breaks into personal email of James Clapper, US director of national intelligence

Personal online accounts linked to James Clapper, director of national intelligence, have been hacked, only months after reports that someone was hacking the personal email of John Brennan, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Brian Hale, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said on Tuesday that Clapper’s office was aware of the hacking and had reported the incident to appropriate authorities. He declined to provide other details.

An individual not authorised to discuss details and who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was aware of the hacking incident before it was first reported on Tuesday by Motherboard, an online magazine and video channel about science and technology.

Motherboard reported that the same teenage hacker who broke into Brennan’s account also targeted Clapper.

Brennan said in October that he was outraged that someone hacked his personal email account and publicised sensitive data, including his contact list and his wife’s government ID number.

The hacker has said he is a high school student protesting US policy and that he fooled Verizon into providing him access to Brennan’s account.

Brennan denied any impropriety on his part and said the hacking incident underscored that everyone was vulnerable to personal information on the internet being compromised.