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UK Atomic Weapons Information Rerouted to Ukraine

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COMMENT: There is no short­age of depress­ing news these days. Just in case you were feel­ing secure, check out the details of an inter­est­ing cyber-attack. In what cyber secu­ri­ty experts call a “man-in-the-mid­dle attack,” e‑mail from a num­ber of firms were rerout­ed to Kiev, Ukraine, before going to their intend­ed des­ti­na­tions. 

Among the firms suc­cess­ful­ly tar­get­ed was a UK con­trac­tor that makes nuclear war­heads. Spec­u­la­tion has cir­cu­lat­ed that this may have enabled the attack­er to gain infor­ma­tion about the man­u­fac­ture of nuclear weapons.

This is to be seen against the back­ground of state­ments by Andrei Biletsky–a mem­ber of the Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment and the com­man­der of the Nazi Azov Bat­tal­ion–that Ukraine is going to attempt to become a nuclear pow­er.

Feel­ing bet­ter?

Pro­grams cov­er­ing the Ukraine cri­sis are: FTR #‘s 777778779780781782, 783784794800803804, 808811817818824826829832833837. 


“EMail Traf­fic of UK Atom­ic Weapons Orga­ni­za­tion Hijacked, Rerout­ed to Ukraine”; Nextgov; 3/13/2015. 

It’s unclear how the Inter­net traf­fic for many British Tele­com customers—including a defense con­trac­tor that helps make nuclear war­heads —was divert­ed to servers in Ukraine before being passed along to its intend­ed recip­i­ents.

The snag may have allowed adver­saries to inter­cept or tam­per with com­mu­ni­ca­tions sent and received by the UK’s Atom­ic Weapons Estab­lish­ment, one of the affect­ed clients. Oth­er orga­ni­za­tions with redi­rect­ed traf­fic include Lock­heed Mar­tin, Toron­to Domin­ion Bank, Anglo-Ital­ian heli­copter com­pa­ny AgustaWest­land, and the UK Depart­ment for Envi­ron­ment, accord­ing to a blog post by researchers at Dyn, an online infra­struc­ture con­sul­tan­cy.

The affect­ed traf­fic appears to include email and vir­tu­al pri­vate net­work con­nec­tions. The cir­cuitous path caused the data “to trav­el thou­sands of miles to the Ukrain­ian cap­i­tal of Kiev before turn­ing around, retrac­ing that route, and being deliv­ered to its nor­mal hub in Lon­don,” Ars Tech­ni­ca reports.

Send­ing the data to Kiev may have made it pos­si­ble for employ­ees with net­work access to Ukrain­ian tele­com provider Vega to eaves­drop or manip­u­late data that was­n’t encrypt­ed. . . . .

. . . . This sort of rerout­ing – called a man-in-the-mid­dle attack — is the result of the implic­it trust placed in the bor­der gate­way pro­to­col used to exchange data between large ser­vice providers and their cus­tomers, which include banks, gov­ern­ments, net­work ser­vice providers, aero­space com­pa­nies, and oth­er sen­si­tive orga­ni­za­tions.


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