[ISN] Hackers Attack NZ & Aust for Joining Gulf Taskforce

From: mea culpa (jerichot_private)
Date: Sun Jul 19 1998 - 18:02:20 PDT

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    From: Julian Assange <profft_private>
    Originally To: lacct_private
    While browsing through the Australian Parliament House library,
    I came across this report:
       Thinking about the Unthinkable: Australian Vulnerabilities
       to High-Tech Risks 
       Dr Adam Cobb 
       Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Group 
       29 June 1998 
    Which appears to be your typical info-worrier paranoia inducing budget
    purloiner. What struck me however, was the disingenuous `cover grab'
    used on page one:
             Hackers Attack NZ & Aust for Joining Gulf
        AZP London: A hacker group calling themselves the 'Anti-Christ
        Doom Squad' was involved in attacks against New Zealand and
        Australia just days after Wellington and Canberra announced troop
        deployments to the latest Gulf Crisis.
        In a secret UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)
        report leaked today, the Auckland blackouts that crippled the city
        for weeks earlier in the year, were traced to electronic attacks
        on New Zealand's electricity distribution network, launched by
        computers in Amsterdam over the Internet. A senior government
        source in the Australian equivalent to GCHQ, the Defence Signals
        Directorate (DSD), confirmed that the widespread blackouts across
        the Australian state of Queensland were also traced to the same
        The 'Anti-Christ' hackers traversed computer systems worldwide
        using 'spoofed' user-names and stolen passwords to try to conceal
        their identity. Once inside the New Zealand power companies'
        supercomputer, the hackers accessed a control system commonly used
        in energy distributions systems to launch their attack. The
        Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system controls
        switches and flows across most modern power distribution networks.
        The 'Anti Christ Doom Squad' then concentrated on manipulating one
        key choke-point on the outskirts of Auckland. It was the location
        where all five main powerlines converged before entering the
        city. The 'Doom Squad' altered the temperature within the
        gas-encased power lines thereby crippling them within minutes. The
        whole operation was launched and conducted from a drug café in
        Amsterdam using a lap-top and a modem.
        Simultaneous widespread blackouts across the Australian state of
        Queensland disrupted businesses, schools and emergency
        services. However, the DSD refused to comment on whether any other
        critical Australian infrastructures were affected.
        Because the attacks passed through computers in over 10 countries
        and legal jurisdictions, it will be almost impossible to bring the
        hackers to justice, the GCHQ report notes.
        The government of Iraq denies any connection with the blackouts.
    Which is of course complete fiction. Telling the reader that the
    splash page (and a big splash at that) is an outright lie, doesn't sit
    easily with Dr. Cobb. In fact in following 100 or so pages that
    comprise the body of the FADaT report, the only reference we see to it
    is this:
        In early 1998, both Queensland and Auckland, New Zealand, were
        afflicted with severe blackouts as key choke-points (or nodes) in
        the electricity distribution networks collapsed(2). As the
        Auckland crisis proved, contemporary cities quickly grind to a
        halt when electricity, telecommunications and financial networks
        are out of action.
    Which if anything is re-enforcing the lie the report started with.
    Observant readers will be asking about that little (2) in `.. networks
    collapsed(2).'? Is it a footnote? No, however, some 100 pages later we
    find this endnote:
        2.The exact cause of each failure has not been made public as of
        04/06/1998. However, as the fictitious news story was attempting
        to suggest, aggressive attacks are now just as plausible as
        technical failure.
    Which, taking aside the fact the statements about causes are
    completely untrue, has got to be the worlds most half-hearted apology
    for scientific fraud I've ever seen.
    Prof. Julian Assange  |"From each according to his abilities
                          | to each according to her needs."
    profft_private          |
    profft_private  |                -Mrs. Karl Marx    
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