As first reported by CNN, British law enforcement in conjunction with the FBI have arrested a sixteen year old in Britain on charges related to the hacking of high level officials at the CIA, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, the White House and other federal agencies. Among those who were hacked by the hacker who described himself as Cracka and often referred to a group with which he was affiliated as “Crackas With Attitude” were CIA Director, John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. I have previously described these hackings in earlier Scams of the day here on Scamicide. Just this past week, Cracka had released online some personal information about employees of the FBI, Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security although the government has downplayed the significance of the recently released information as being nothing more than an internal phone directory. However, it is entirely possible that more sensitive information was also accessed by Cracka.
Perhaps the most disturbing part of this entire scenario is not merely that email accounts and more of important government agencies and officials were hacked, but that they were hacked by a relatively unsophisticated teenaged hacker without the skills or software available to foreign governments and sophisticated cybergangs. Once again, it initially appears that Cracka used elemental social engineering techniques to obtain the information he needed to hack his various targets. Social engineering techniques such as spear phishing remain a huge problem to individuals, companies and governments who have not done enough to protect themselves from this threat.