Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Unauthorised blogpost

Overnight a post, consisting merely of a hypertext link, was made to this blog from a source other than myself. How it happened, I do not know and I deleted the post as soon as I became aware of it.  Other Lockerbie campaigners have recently been subjected to attacks on their computers.  Perhaps it is now my turn.


  1. Robert, just to be reassuring here for a minute. I know another Lockerbie campaigner's email account was sending commercial spam last week. As I told the person concerned, I had exactly the same thing from my cousin's email account last month, and my cousin has the same email provider. I think it's just commercial spammers going after popular email providers. The link I was sent in the spam was just to a web site advertising a quick weight-loss scheme. If that's all you're referring to, I don't think it's a matter for particular concern.

    Spammers also post comments on blog sites, all the time. How they get past moderation I don't know, but they do. The probability is that there's nothing sinister here, just the usual internet creeps annoying everyone in their attempts to turn a quick buck.

  2. To crack through a large service's protection measures without 'attacking' the account owner can safely be regarded as level "impossible".

    When accounts are compromized it 99% for one of these reasons:

    1. User's PC is compromized
    This can be happen in a huge number of ways, and nobody can ever be sure, not even IT pros.

    2. Unsafe Internet/networking environment
    a. User thinks he sees a known webpage and logs in, but the attacker has managed to put something else in place. Can also be done in numerous ways, e.g. by "phishing".
    b. Insecure connection (typically wireless) to a sniffing network.

    3. Very trivial passwords.
    However, brute-force cracking (which means having a computer trying numerous common passwords) is very difficult to accomplish for most accounts, as they only allow a few failed attempts before demanding "capcha-code" (the system where the computer asks us to type in some twisted characters that only humans can read) or disallowing more attempts ("contact your bank...").

    4. Other trivialities
    - like writing username/password on a yellow post-it sticker (very popular!)

  3. Rolfe wrote:
    "The probability is that there's nothing sinister here, just the usual internet creeps annoying everyone in their attempts to turn a quick buck."

    This is correct, but don't underestimate cyber criminals. Usually they do much more than you see.

    It should not be forgotten that RB will have been cracked. It is time to do a few things. While so far from giving "security", it helps, like a getting better lock on your front door.

  4. It's me again. I forgot to say, that I in my own work [server-administration] never would consider using a PC that had been cracked even once (or even havning had administrator access by another user), before Windows was reinstalled from scratch by myself or people I trust (which would not include those in a PC shop)

    But for most people this is a too difficult undertaking to achieve on a satisfactory level.

    - - -

    All in all, the problem is huge and can hardly be overestimated.

  5. Indeed, all good advice SM. I don't think there's strong evidence that people involved in the Lockerbie debate are being specifically targeted for that reason though.

    The first two questions, who? and why?, don't seem to have readily obvious answers.