back to article Chill, it's not WikiLeaks 2: Pile of EU diplomatic cables nicked by hackers

The New York Times has published what it says are excerpts from hacked EU diplomatic cables that a cybersecurity company apparently made available to reporters. The US newspaper said 1,100 diplomatic cables were handed to it by infosec startup Area 1, which it described as "a firm founded by three former officials of the …

  1. GnuTzu Bronze badge
    Meh

    "...the hack "also revealed the huge appetite by hackers to sweep up even the most obscure details..."

    Um, yes. It's the nature of the beast. They sniff around, slurping up pretty much anything, and then decide what to do with it later. And, they'll sell them selves on the claim that they can get all kinds of information--even stuff that most would not consider all that sensitive--because massive gobs of data has more value than most think.

    1. Ashentaine

      Yep, that's why data slurping in general operates on quantity over quality. Despite Hollywood's depictions of a hacker being able to knife their way through a system and get right to "IllegalMilitaryOperations.txt", it's much more efficient to just take everything at once and filter out (and then sell) what you don't need later.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Anyway, this kind of leaks are always useful to disseminate some disruption around. What's in the cable may not really be important, but there could be enough material to stir some reactions.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Actual news?

      Perhaps the reason for the red faces is that the hackers did what the news org is supposed to be doing - easily, and at low cost. It's been a long time since I've seen any decent investigative reporting, it stopped sometime around when the news became a profit center and was most easily produced by relaying press releases (free) leaks from "unidentified but trust us, high level" sources (free and half made up), and government diktat (Mockingbird, also free).

      You can see why no one wants to do it anymore - you can get paid to repeat plenty of juicy stuff free, and if you tell truth that contradicts the narrative - you wind up stuck in a cold country or some embassy.

      This, for example, they didn't even attempt to hide: https://phys.org/news/2011-10-darpa-master-propaganda-narrative-networks.html

      Shortly before the NDAA made it legal for government to lie - and force the press to join them...

      I'm not an expert but I believe the UK was actually leading the way there (but US and OZ do fine too), though they seem to have lost their touch creating believable narratives of late...

      There's quite a lot more in the public domain....maybe where Mr Snowden and Assange messed up is by not just using that - it's plenty damning enough.

      The internet - "and we'd have gotten away with it except for you pesky kids".

      But they did and do get away with it - as long as they have the use of force and can take out the obvious leaders easily without ruffling too many feathers. Which is why all the surveillance - find those guys and nip things in the bud while it's just that odd guy living down the road, well before the need for force becomes obvious and creates pushback.

  2. jpo234

    Pity the poor schmuck who has to wade through all this stuff that nobody was ever meant to read. He will be bored to tears, it's probably as entertaining as reading the phone register.

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Everybody Needs Read This for Explanation of the Future ..... and How IT Delivers Heavenly Assets

    State-sponsored hackers, however, have grown adept at borrowing each other's techniques to deflect blame.

    Hmmmm? A New Fangled Cloaking Device? That's clever

    Now, the question is ... Is That Heralding a SMARTR AI Start Program for Stately Hoods?

    A little something for Integrity Initiatives and Institutes for Statecraft to Cogitate On for Such is Immediately Readily Available for Trial and Trail Blazing/Beta AI Test Run.

    cc RSVP Any and all present in the above. It's a Great Program to Trial and Master.

    And seeing as how El Reg is sure to be of Surreal Space Interest, how long do you think one awaits Tailored Access Reply ...... for All Keys to Pass for Right Royal MAGIC? :-)

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Everybody Needs Read This for ::snippage, too long::

      "Hmmmm? A New Fangled Cloaking Device? That's clever"

      No, amfM, not new-fangled at all. People have been dressing in the adversary's uniform for data gathering purposes for ... oh, I don't know, probably for as long as there has been an "us" and a "them". Certainly for all of recorded history, anyway.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Everybody Needs Read This for ::snippage, too long::

        Oh ‽ OK.

        What's the excuse then, jake, for so very little of greater purpose having been achieved? It is certainly currently nothing worth settling for, and conceiving as all that there possibly is, given that so much more can now so very easily be done with these new fangled and entangling virtual tools with SMARTR Operating AI Systems which be Successfully Tested Beta AI Penetrations Testing Programs for Secure Preventative Attack and Virtual AIDynamic Defence Posturing/Pimping/Pumping/Priming/Presenting.

        1. Florida1920 Silver badge

          Re: Everybody Needs Read This for ::snippage, too long::

          If they ever hack El Reg, as soon as they hit amfM's comments they will collectively resign and ask to be reassigned to work in the rice paddies.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Everybody Needs Read This for ::snippage, too long::

          > What's the excuse then, jake

          I see amanfromMars 1 has been upgraded to give personalised responses.

          1. jake Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Everybody Needs Read This for ::snippage, too long::

            "I see amanfromMars 1 has been upgraded to give personalised responses."

            Nah. amfM has always replied ... if you know what kind of salt to seed it with.

            Oh, and beer. Men from Mars apparently also like beer. This round's on me :-)

        3. jake Silver badge

          Re: Everybody Needs Read This for ::snippage, too long::

          "What's the excuse then, jake, for so very little of greater purpose having been achieved?"

          Pure, unadulterated Grade-A click-bait would be my guess. Thus securing funding to produce more material for more useless headlines, of course. Lather, rinse, repeat.

          1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Re: Everybody Needs Read This for it is gospel truth ? :-)

            Pure, unadulterated Grade-A click-bait would be my guess. Thus securing funding to produce more material for more useless headlines, of course. Lather, rinse, repeat. .... jake

            So, in that case, synthetic sub-prime bullshit for idiotic fools to shovel to ignorant tools, jake, ... and it has to be said, that's how far present-day naked wannabe emperors and their camp followers have fallen.

            What a disgraceful state of affairs to be supporting!

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Everybody Needs Read This for it is gospel truth ? :-)

              Exactly, amfM. I think deplorable would also work.

              1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

                Re: Everybody Needs Read This for it is gospel truth ? :-)

                Despicable would also work, jake, and is somewhat in vogue and infamous across the Big Pond in the Wild West Territories, is it not?

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: Everybody Needs Read This for it is gospel truth ? :-)

                  Around these here parts, "despicable" is usually only used by folks who are somewhat loony. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

                  Might I add disgusting, detestable and discreditable?

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge

    The US newspaper said 1,100 diplomatic cables were handed to it by infosec startup Area 1, which it described as "a firm founded by three former officials of the National Security Agency".

    If I'm parsing this correctly, the InfoSec firm gave the NYT the data? If correct, this doesn't bode well for Area1's business of cyber security. And, if correct, why the hell would they release the data from the breach?

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Holmes

      > why the hell would they release the data from the breach?

      Very true. There must be a reason those (former) NSA guys released those cables.

      To put pressure on somebody (who?)? Hint at things (to whom?)? Or (since it's a startup) just to prove they can get stuff done, and thus deserve funding and contracts?

      Given the apparent low value of the hoard, IMHO this reason is the only interesting part. It's unlikely they got bored and decided to collect some stolen diplomatic cables to send to the NYT just for the fun, so why?

      1. Publik_Emily_Numba_1

        Look, guys, this could happen to anyone. They even got a load of stuff from the EU, and we all know how THEY are about data protection.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Isn't it obvious? A cyber security firm hand journalists some boring info they found floating around on pastebin or somewhere. But it's exciting because... diplomatic cables...

      It's basic PR. Get articles published in the press that mention your company. If they can also worry people about internet security, then maybe they'll get some sales out people who hope to prevent their stuff leaking online.

      The External Action Service is bound to leak like a sieve at lower levels. It's got representatives of every EU government in it - and most of those governments have ties to other non-EU countries that those EAS reports may be about. Which is why important stuff still mostly gets down at national level. Although Catherine Ashton did improve the EAS's (and her own) poor reputation during the nuclear negotiations with Iran in the Obama era.

  5. TeeCee Gold badge
    Meh

    Ok, who's up for a test?

    Need a volunteer to read the whole lot, then sit through the film "Watching Paint Dry" and tell us which was more interesting.

    1. Publik_Emily_Numba_1
      Happy

      Re: Ok, who's up for a test?

      Only if it's the Director's Cut

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Ok, who's up for a test?

      Are you supplying the popcorn and beer?

  6. The Nazz Silver badge

    You missed one.

    Blair "Hey, Juncker old (literally) pal. If i sabotage Brexit, can i get to be President THIS time around."

    Everyone " No, fuck off, no one wanted you the last time."

    Allegedly.

  7. JohnG Silver badge

    Does the GDPR have any bearing on this leak, for any of EEAS, Area 1 and NYT?

  8. Ksam!

    This is a perfect example of western propaganda bullshit in action.

    Here you have a CIA backed newpaper, NYT, releasing hacked EU and Chinese cables, from a NSA backed hacking organisation, and somehow it's "Chinese hackers" that did it???

    Are you freaking kidding me??

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019