EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

06.14.15

Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and Microsoft Windows

Posted in Microsoft, Windows at 6:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Server

Summary: A look at lesser-explored aspects of the so-called OPN hack [sic], especially the systems involved

IN AN EFFORT to understand what repeatedly happened in the undoubtedly significant Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data breach/es [2-8], leaving aside the lack of concrete evidence of Chinese role [1], we tried to understand which platform was to blame. In the case of Sony it was reportedly a Microsoft Windows machine acting as the culprit or attack vector, just like Stuxnet in Iran with similar attempts against North Korea (there are still more articles about it).

“Hundreds of millions of credit card numbers got snatched from Windows.”NSA leaks were due to Microsoft SharePoint (Snowden gained access to the so-called ‘crown jewels’). As we last noted in an article about words from Kaspersky (still in headlines for it [9-12]), Windows is inherently not secure. Commercial targets of data breached that we wrote about before serve to show this. We gave readers a lot of examples over the years. Hundreds of millions of credit card numbers got snatched from Windows. the cost was enormous, but the role of Windows wasn’t ever emphasised in the corporate press.

Rebecca Abrahams published an article co-authored by Dr. Stephen Bryen, Founder & CTO of FortressFone Technologies. Unlike many other articles which point a finger at China (with little to actually back this accusation with), Abrahams does call out Windows and sheds light on what OPM uses:

Second, the government is very slow to improve security on its computers and networks. Many of the computers the government is using are antique. For example OPM still has 12-year old Windows XT as an operating system for its computers. Microsoft no longer supports XT and any vulnerability that develops is the problem of the user, not of the supplier. But even if the old stuff was upgraded it won’t help much because the systems are really clumsy amalgams of disparate parts which as a “system,” have never been properly vetted for security.

So there we go. Windows. We’re hardly surprised to say the least. The author probably means NT or XP (14 years old, not 12, unlike Server 2003), but does it matter much? Any version of Windows, no matter how old, is not secure. It’s not even designed to be secure.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. US wronging of China for cyber breaches harm mutual trust

    Out of ulterior motives, some US media and politicians have developed a habit of scapegoating China for any alleged cyber attack on the United States. Such groundless accusations would surely harm mutual trust between the two big powers of today’s world.

  2. The Massive Hack on US Personnel Agency is Worse Than Everyone Thought

    Last week, the human resources arm of the US government, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) admitted that it had been victim of a massive data breach, where hackers stole personal data belonging to as many as 4 million government workers.

  3. Feds Who Didn’t Even Discover The OPM Hack Themselves, Still Say We Should Give Them Cybersecurity Powers

    We already described how the recent hack into the US federal government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) appears to be much more serious than was initially reported. The hack, likely by Chinese state hackers, appear to have obtained basically detailed personal info on all current and many former federal government employees.

  4. China-linked hackers get data on CIA, NSA personnel with security-clearance: report

    China-linked hackers appear to have gained access to sensitive background information submitted by US intelligence and military personnel for security clearances that could potentially expose them to blackmail, the Associated Press reported on Friday.

    In a report citing several US officials, the news agency said that data on nearly all of the millions of US security-clearance holders, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA) and military special operations personnel, were potentially exposed in the attack on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

  5. Second OPM Hack Revealed: Even Worse Than The First

    And yet… this is the same federal government telling us that it wants more access to everyone else’s data to “protect” us from “cybersecurity threats” — and that encryption is bad? Yikes.

  6. Dossiers on US spies, military snatched in ‘SECOND govt data leak’

    A second data breach at the US Office of Personnel Management has compromised even more sensitive information about government employees than the first breach that was revealed earlier this week, sources claim. It’s possible at least 14 million Americans have chapter and verse on their lives leaked, we’re told.

    The Associated Press reports that hackers with close ties to China are believed to have obtained extensive background information on intelligence-linked government staffers – from CIA agents and NSA spies to military special ops – who have applied for security clearances.

    Among the records believed to have leaked from a compromised database are copies of Standard Form 86 [PDF], a questionnaire that is given to anyone who applies for a national security position, and is typically verified via interviews and background checks.

  7. Officials: Second hack exposed military and intel data
  8. Senate Quickly Says ‘No Way’ To Mitch McConnell’s Cynical Ploy To Add Bogus Cybersecurity Bill To NDAA

    Earlier this week, we noted that Senator Mitch McConnell, hot off of his huge flop in trying to preserve the NSA’s surveillance powers, had promised to insert the dangerous “cybersecurity” bill CISA directly into the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act). As we discussed, while many have long suspected that CISA (and CISPA before it) were surveillance bills draped in “cybersecurity” clothing, the recent Snowden revelations that the NSA is using Section 702 “upstream” collection for “cybersecurity” issues revealed how CISA would massively expand the NSA’s ability to warrantlessly wiretap Americans’ communications.

  9. “Don’t Hack Me! That’s a Bad Idea,” Says Eugene Kaspersky to APT Groups
  10. Russian Software Security Lab Hacked, Indirectly Links Attack To NSA
  11. Israel, NSA May Have Hacked Antivirus Firm Kaspersky Lab

    Moscow-based antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab, famous for uncovering state-sponsored cyberattacks, today dropped its biggest bombshell yet: Its own computer networks were hit by state-sponsored hackers, probably working for Israeli intelligence or the U.S. National Security Agency. The same malware also attacked hotels that hosted ongoing top-level negotiations to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

  12. Protocols of the Hackers of Zion?

    When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Google chairman Eric Schmidt on Tuesday afternoon, he boasted about Israel’s “robust hi-tech and cyber industries.” According to The Jerusalem Post, “Netanyahu also noted that ‘Israel was making great efforts to diversify the markets with which it is trading in the technological field.’”

    Just how diversified and developed Israeli hi-tech innovation has become was revealed the very next morning, when the Russian cyber-security firm Kaspersky Labs, which claims more than 400 million users internationally, announced that sophisticated spyware with the hallmarks of Israeli origin (although no country was explicitly identified) had targeted three European hotels that had been venues for negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

    Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, one of the first news sources to break the story, reported that Kaspersky itself had been hacked by malware whose code was remarkably similar to that of a virus attributed to Israel. Code-named “Duqu” because it used the letters DQ in the names of the files it created, the malware had first been detected in 2011. On Thursday, Symantec, another cyber-security firm, announced it too had discovered Duqu 2 on its global network, striking undisclosed telecommunication sites in Europe, North Africa, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia. It said that Duqu 2 is much more difficult to detect that its predecessor because it lives exclusively in the memory of the computers it infects, rather than writing files to a drive or disk.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 5/12/2019: qBittorrent 4.2.0, Expensive Librem 5 and OpenBSD Bugs

    Links for the day



  2. Microsoft Staff Repeatedly Refuses to Tell How Many People Use WSL, Defends Patent Extortion and Blackmail of Linux Instead

    The people who develop WSL (mostly Microsoft employees) get easily irritated when asked how many people actually use this thing; but more interestingly, however, they reveal their disdain for GNU/Linux and support for Microsoft blackmail (for 'Linux patent tax')



  3. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 04, 2019

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 04, 2019



  4. Links 4/12/2019: Tails 4.1, UCS 4.4-3 and Proxmox VE 6.1

    Links for the day



  5. Google Tightens Its Noose

    Now it’s official! Google is just a bunch of shareholders looking to appease the Pentagon at all costs



  6. Europeans Still Need to Save the European Patent Office From Those Who Attack Its Patent Quality

    Patent quality is of utmost interest; without it, as we're seeing at the EPO and have already seen at the USPTO for a number of years, legal disputes will arise where neither side wins (only the lawyers win) and small, impoverished inventors or businesses will be forced to settle outside the courts over baseless allegations, often made by parasitic patent trolls (possessing low-quality patents they don't want scrutinised by courts)



  7. We Never Accepted and Will Never Accept Corporate Money

    Corporate money is a unique problem because of its magnitude and the fact that it's impersonal; shareholders can only ever accept its supposed justifications if they're receiving something in return (of proportional worth to the payment/transaction)



  8. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 03, 2019

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 03, 2019



  9. Links 3/12/2019: elementary OS 5.1 Hera, Plasma 5.17.4, Firefox 71

    Links for the day



  10. Laundering the Reputation of Criminals: That's an Actual Job

    An important reminder that the manufactured, paid-for (media is being bribed) image of Bill Gates is the product of the PR industry he enlisted to distract from his endless crimes



  11. 'Priceless' Tickets to the EPO's Back End and Team UPC

    CIPA's and the EPO's event (later this week) is more of the same; the EPO exists not to serve European businesses but a bunch of law firms and their biggest clients (which usually aren't even European)



  12. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 02, 2019

    IRC logs for Monday, December 02, 2019



  13. New EPO Leak Shows That the Rumours and Jokes Are Partly True and We Know Who 'Runs the Show'

    Europe’s second-largest institution is so profoundly dysfunctional, a reprehensible kakistocracy of tribalism, money-grabbing career-climbing autocrats and possibly major fraud; today’s leak looks at what motivated and enabled the formation and latest incarnation of “Team Campinos”



  14. Links 2/12/2019: Linux Mint 19.3 Beta, DPL Sam Hartman Talks About SystemD

    Links for the day



  15. What Former Debian Project Leader (Second to the Late Ian Murdock) Thinks About SystemD in Debian GNU/Linux

    Now that Debian is debating and voting on diversity in the technical sense the thoughts of Bruce Perens merit broader audience/reach



  16. Free/Libre Software Will Eventually Become the Norm, 'Open Source' is Just Proprietary Software Trying to 'Buy Time'

    More people are starting to ask questions about Free software while “Open Source” languishes (people can see it’s just a mask for proprietary software); it was a two-decade delaying tactic that’s wearing off (people see GitHub and the OSI/Linux Foundation for what they really are)



  17. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 01, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 01, 2019



  18. Richard Stallman is Active and Doing Well

    The rumour mill may still be humming along; but against all odds — as Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project — Stallman keeps fighting the good fight (in the face of growing resistance)



  19. Banning Former Microsoft Employees Who Complain About Microsoft Lies, Abuses and Crimes

    The official account of Windows Insider is banning people whom it never even spoke to; this seems like a way of 'punishing' people who are not 'true believers' in Microsoft



  20. Wikileaks: Thierry Breton May Have Misused Regulatory/Government Positions to Attack His Competition (in the Market)

    Thierry 'revolving doors' Breton as seen by the United States government



  21. 13 Years of UPC Promises

    The anatomy of UPC 'fake news' or lobbying tactics along the lines of self-fulfilling prophecies and false predictions



  22. Is Water Wet?

    The criteria for patent eligibility reduced only to this question: will allowing these patents increase ‘production’ (number of patent grants)?



  23. The EPO's President Admits He's Illegally Granting Software Patents (CII, 4IR, IoT, AI and Blockchain Mean Software Patents at the EPO)

    The EPO's chief liar is openly and proudly promoting software patents using buzzwords and hype waves (and mysterious acronyms that are rather meaningless but spread by the media in exchange for money received from the EPO)



  24. Tone Policing and the Linux Foundation

    A timely example of situations where the Linux Foundation can seemingly 'cancel' people (using the Code of Conduct) for political opinions



  25. It EEEsn't Just a Microsoft Thing Anymore

    The EEErosion of Python's independence is a known problem and Microsoft is not the sole culprit



  26. Links 1/12/2019: KDE's GTK CSD Support, Skrooge 2.21.0

    Links for the day



  27. Links 1/12/2019: Genode OS 19.11 Release, Sam Hartman (DPL) Speaks Out on SystemD

    Links for the day



  28. Maximalists Cherry-Picking the So-Called 'Corbyn' 'Leak' for Their Patent Agenda While the US Lobbies Britain for Software Patents and Worse

    A quick look at what last week's media coverage may have missed and what patent maximalists don't want to tell us about confidential trade-related documents



  29. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 30, 2019

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 30, 2019



  30. Microsoft Loves Linux Because It Pays for It

    Microsoft cannot ‘buy’ Linux itself, so it has been buying (bribing) all the ‘right’ people while telling them (and then they tell us, too!) they “love Linux” (which they don’t even use!)


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts