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back to article Hackers break onto White House military network

Hackers reportedly attempted a brazen attack on a White House military network in charge of the president’s nuclear football. US officials familiar with the incident said unidentified hackers launched an attack early last month on the network used by the White House Military Office (WHMO), an military office in charge of …

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Facepalm

Ok so...

"However it seems only less significant systems were targeted by an assault that was, in any case, ultimately unsuccessful"

... someone trys to attack a system much less important and secure than the ones at the heart of this article, and completely failed in doing so.

It has a hint of Oriental vs. The World in thermonuclear cyber-handbags, and so this is now news-worthy as a result?

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Anonymous Coward

Ok

Who was it who pressed the button?

Come on let's be having you now!

Who was it who made China disappear?

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Happy

Re: Ok so...

Yes, but "Possible Chinese shotgun hack on low-level Whithouse systems fails" doesn't make for such a good headline.

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Anonymous Coward

No biggie

These servers are under attack all the time. The server doesn't even have confidential data and the Perps didn't actually get any data, so it's a lot of media noise over nothing.

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Silver badge

Re: No biggie

Just goes to show that your systems might be smart, but your users not so.

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IT Angle

Dodgy nuclear football military network?

"Follow-up reports suggest that a dodgy email with a malicious attachment made it past perimeter defences and onto someone's desktop"

Why are they connecting dodgy desktops to a military network in charge of the president’s nuclear football?

"The attack was launched from Chinese networks, which by itself doesn't mean much"

Look, if I were to launch an attack from China then I would ssh into some other countries network and do it from there ...

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Bronze badge

Re: Dodgy nuclear football military network?

If I was china, I wouldn't bother hiding it. Everyone tunnels through china anyway. If an attack came from say Peru, then you'd know for sure it was the Chinese.

However, coming from china it only *might* be he Chinese or could be a 12 year old in Michigan...

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Anonymous Coward

The president’s nuclear football?

"Hackers reportedly attempted a brazen attack on a White House military network in charge of the president’s nuclear football"

President Priest: I hereby authorize the launch codes for operation cigarillo, adiós Cuba ..

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Joke

Re: The president’s nuclear football?

Lucky they didn't log in as 'Joshua'.

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Mushroom

@Christoph

Shall we play a game...?

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Joke

The president’s nuclear football?

Surely it would be a basketball, given the presidents ethnic background.

Just kidding, OK?

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Re: The president’s nuclear football?

The man's ethnicity has nothing to do with it: Barack Obama plays basketball. And note the tense: the President sneaks off for a game of basketball: see http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/10/michael-lewis-profile-barack-obama!

Frankly, I'm mildly impressed that (apparently) the best way to get dropped from the roster is to treat any differently the man wearing the number 44 (as in the 44th President of the United States)...

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Anonymous Coward

My money is on disgruntled right wing militia

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Anonymous Coward

Suuure...

They'd have to figure out how to turn a computer on first, and then they'd have to "connect it to that innernet or whatsumcalled, cuz them liberals got too many damn names for the computer, cuz when they aren't busy blashemin' and sodomizing each other in them fancy Colleges, they make up book lernin' by just making up names" You have not lived until you've heard someone say this and not be joking.

This kind of person tends to belong to the Militia Movement, and as such tend to be knuckledraggers, if I haven't made it clear enough here.

Its people in the hills that are too stupid to be Moonshiners or run a meth lab, because they'd get killed, or they did do it until they got caught because they displaying their innate idiocy, so they'll go "get a buncha guns for when that damn darky in the white house" takes our guns and melts em down to fund obammycare, which'll be the signal to let in the Socialist Muslims from Eron (which is next door to where Obammy's really from by the way, Pat Robertson said so) take over without a fight. Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck said all of this, so it has to be true".

And I wish I was joking when I say this, I hear and see people believe in this shit on a daily basis.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Suuure...

Not so sure how you got militia mixed in there. Please look up the term and study some militias. Hint: a militia is not a movement.

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Bronze badge

Re: Suuure...

You are entitled to your opinion, but as a retired service member, proponent of the second amendment and critic of the entire Obama administration I have to ask: Why in the fuck is a system like that accessible to and from the internet? Furthermore, one figure that they’d be using something a little more robust than the run of the mill hardware needed to access siprnet . Spear Phishing or no, there is absolutely no excuse for anybody using that machine to have access to the public internet.

It’s bad enough that it endangers the safety of US citizens, but think of all the collateral damage that could happen to other countries IF someone got those launch codes. But, if you want to take potshots at those who have conservative values and ignore the severity of the blatant stupidity of the individual(s) who allowed this to happen then knock yourself out. Obviously you neither give a crap about the population of North America nor do you give a shit about the hundreds of millions of people (or more) who could be murdered because of espionage.

Finally, since you had the audacity to mix politics into your reply, John Kennedy (bless his soul) is probably spinning in his grave at the sheer travesty that’s happened to the Democrat party. Look at the vast majority of the hard line socialist countries. Most have either collapsed into civil war, fragmented or have a high tax rate (income tax, sales tax, VAT tax, usage tax etc). In a truly utopian world Socialism would work, that’s assuming individual held the same general life philosophy. Considering the gridlock in DC, the uselessness of the UN and the fact that the middle east burns every time someone says something that disagrees with the "religion of peace & submission", I'm thinking Utopia will arrive about a week before hell freezes over.

What Obama is doing to America is nothing more than celebrating and promoting mediocrity and waging a war on success.

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Facepalm

Re: Suuure...

Oh, good. From them thar nucular rockets to criticising them damn pinkos in two paragraphs. This has got to be a new world record.

Sincerely,

citizen of a country with a very high tax rate*

(*Yes, our PM is a right pillock, and yes, the economy is in a disarray, and we are a bit fragmented, as it were, but no civil war has broken out since 1945, and guess what - most people find the concept of "medical bills" completely alien.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Suuure...

Complacency like that and it's no wonder the nutters from the right, left and even those who simply hate anything they got beat with as a child, get past people like you the arrogant defenders of our freedom!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Suuure... [@zen1]

"You are entitled to your opinion,"

Nice of you (I am not the original AC)

"but as a retired service member, proponent of the second amendment and critic of the entire Obama administration I have to ask: Why in the fuck is a system like that accessible to and from the internet? "

I am not sure what any of the criteria you specified in advance has to do with your question but as a retired service member (etc), I have to point out that this system was set up before 2009.

Also, as a retired service member (etc), I have to point out that the system subject to the spear phish was the unclassified network used by the department, not their classified one.

Finally as a retired service member (etc), I have to point out that the chain of events you use as an example of how fucked up things are cant happen as a result of this hack attempt. Also, for future reference, when you have a scenario which goes "if X then if Y" it is actually less likely to happen.

Thanks anyway.

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FAIL

Re: Suuure...

".....most people find the concept of "medical bills" completely alien....." Going by the way you used "PM" suggest you posted from the UK. You may want to go look at how successful BUPA is, and the reason is because people that can't wait in the NHS queues pay to go private. The NHS is a lovely ideal and might even have worked back in the day when we had full employment and a relatively young population, but the reality is it will not work in the current UK and will get worse as the population mix shifts to even more pensioners that expect free healthcare being paid for by less and less young workers. And that's before you consider prescription charges - yes, they are medical bills. I'm not knocking the men and women that work in the NHS, I think they do a fantastic job with the funds they have, but to blindly blather that no-one in the UK pays medical bills is just a complete fail.

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Stop

Re: Suuure...

Well, now, my good fellow, I'm sure you're aware that other countries have PMs too, and as far as I know, Britain hasn't had a civil war in simply ages, so no, I'm not British, nor am I writing this from the UK.

And yes, just about every national healthcare system in the world is feeling the strain, exacerbated, of course, by all those altruistic companies who want to take it over, and the government officials that just so happen to have received some nice packages from said companies.

On the other hand, my sister is a world-class collector of various obscure diseases and disorders, and I've never heard of her having to pay for anything - neither treatment nor drugs.

I should also like to point out, to forestall any ideas about me being a public sector parasite, that I'm not a particularly leftist individual, have my own (admittedly small) business, and have no clients at all from the public sector. Oh, and I pay my taxes, excessive though they might be.

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Silver badge

The Relentless Long March of Smarts to Inquistive Beings .... Nectar to Money Bees, Honey

Follow-up reports suggest that a dodgy email with a malicious attachment made it past perimeter defences and onto someone's desktop, where it might have been opened, and a machine infected. But this machine was quickly identified and isolated before any damage was done.

You do realise, one supposes and suggests, that the targeted machinery successful proven to be systemically vulnerable to such simply complex and impossible to stop attacks/squirmishes, is the virtual machine twixt computer and keyboard inputting/outputting instruction sets to Central Processing and Graphic Processor Units.

"Are we struggling to make machines more like humans when we should be making humans more like machines….. Intelligent/Intelligence machines. Digitization offers real benefits. Very possibly, we are alone in the Universe. What we see is simply what we have been Programmed to see. This makes changing what we see a simple matter of Re-Programming.What is a computer other than a machine which we try to make Think. And what other model, to mimic/mirror could we possibly use, other than our own Brain."

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Silver badge

I wonder if anyone's come to the conclusion that a system that is truly secure by design is impossible for one simple reason: the average human isn't PARANOID enough to be willing to jump through all the hoops everyday to keep everything bottled tight until absolutely needed.

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Black Helicopters

but.. how do we know that is it the 'real' White House'?

Is it possible that the US Gov deliberately deployed a system like this? You know one where it is possible to break into and 'do stuff' whilst the real systems are burried deep behind 20 firewalls?

Black Helicopters naturally....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: but.. how do we know that is it the 'real' White House'?

> Is it possible that the US Gov deliberately deployed a system like this? You know one where it is possible to break into and 'do stuff' whilst the real systems are burried deep behind 20 firewalls?

No ...

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Big Brother

Re: but.. how do we know that is it the 'real' White House'?

Why yes... if I recall, they are called Honey Pots. A mere distraction for the purpose of isolating and identifying the attacker.

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Silver badge

Re: but.. how do we know that is it the 'real' White House'?

Even if it were so, the weakness is that the fleshy component of the system provides a medium through which the attackers, if clever enough, can get to the really interesting stuff.

So, regardless of the 'minor' nature of the compromised system, it is a potentially serious breach.

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Mushroom

Re: but.. how do we know that is it the 'real' White House'?

it's ok, the fleshies are being replaced by machines, soon we will need no humans.

Welcome to Skynet. How may we help you?

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FAIL

So muh for the Pentagon's very expensive Cyberwarfare department

This Pentagon budget-gobbling outfit was set up to protect the US most secret networks.

Let's hope Congress will have some hearings on what they have done with all that money they were given.

P.S. I love the terminology: "exfiltration" not one of my dictionaries has it.

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Facepalm

Re: So muh for the Pentagon's very expensive Cyberwarfare department

Sorry to interupt your "I-support-anyone-that-hates-the-Man" pom-pom routine but you failed to note that not only was this NOT a Pentagon system, it wasn't even a top security system. And even then the attack failed as it was contained and cleaned from the system in question. Not exactly hack of the century.

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Meh

hmmmm

Ok so the email got past the filter on the perimeter and in to someones mailbox. What the article does not say is how the malicious email was then identified. This sounds like a massive media storm over nothing.

I suspect the computer running the mail client that the email was delivered to picked this one up or that the end user recognised it as suspicious. Either way the system worked. This is why there are layers of defense on networks; the first layer won't always pick up a problem.

As to why the PC was connected to the Internet. I suspect it wasn't on such a sensitive part of the network as the article suggests - probably just an office machine.

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Joke

Why does the president have a nuclear football, surely a missile would be more effective unless he plans on taking out a load of over payed sports stars that couldn't spell nuclear..... hmm there's an idea!

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Anonymous Coward

Good Joke!

It's just a crippling shame that you couldn't spell "overpaid".

Sorry...

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Silver badge

This is yet another example of ...

why we need to rethink the current security model and implement a new one that puts cameras on sensitive information.

Bollocks!

This actually is an example why you need to teach everyone from the President down to the Office janitor why clicking on unsolicited email attachment is a bad idea.

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Anonymous Coward

The clueless

Clueless people will always click on attachments so obviously the security system needs to stop malicious content.

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