Ph33r the D0n th4t i5 LowVoltage [FUD]

Bruce Sterling, author of The Hacker Crackdown
Image via Wikipedia

Here’s one that’s good for a laugh. This ‘LowVoltage’ guy sounds pretty evil. Shew!

The ‘Low Voltage’ hackers

He runs with the name “Low Voltage” and is the don of South Africa’s underground movement of techno trouble-stirrers who could, with the click of a mouse, cause your company to fall into the 90% bracket of enterprises which will suffer significant financial loss by 2005 through breaches in security.

Delegates attending a presentation on computer hackers, hosted by the KwaZulu-Natal branch of the Institute of Directors, in Durban on Wednesday, were told there was a huge hacking community in South Africa run by someone who calls himself “Low Voltage”.

This information – along with other shocking statistics – was released by Pragasen Morgan, assistant manager of Global Risk Management Solutions, a security division of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“They meet regularly in Johannesburg to share information, programs and secrets as well as methods and passwords for hacking into certain systems. They work together to overcome different types of security measures,” said Morgan.

Although Morgan couldn’t give any more details on the dark dealings of this group, he did say that there were a number of local “vendors” from whom you could easily pick up the tools for hacking.

“At the end of last year hacking activity increased by 40% worldwide. Hacking among South African corporations is on the increase, but companies won’t talk about it because they run the risk of being branded an unsafe company.

“For example, in financial institutions people would fear leaving their money or information with a company that has been hacked.

“There are a number of local sites where programs can be downloaded, and there are even more advanced international sites which I’d rather not mention because the information available is far too dangerous for people to get hold of,” he said.

You H4ve B33n H4cked (you have been hacked) is just one example of a less vulgar slap-in-the-face reminder that may be left behind after a hacker has had his way with your system.

Morgan said hackers did what they did more for a challenge and very rarely to hold a company to ransom.

“They are in it for the fame and glory, the tougher the security system the bigger the chip on his shoulder.

“August 1 to 19 this year was tabled as the worst period for viruses spread with more financial loss in this week than on September 11 and this is because in that week there was a worldwide hacking competition.

“Other reasons for hacks could be competitors who approach hackers for inside info or disgruntled employees,” he said.

As if having a dark underworld prowling your space isn’t enough, according to PricewaterhouseCooper global statistics, companies need to be wary of an art-of-war type of situation in which the enemy may very well be within your quarters.

Said Morgan: “More than 55% of hacks happen by authorised employees. From a threat point of view the employee poses the greatest threat in hacking. Not only do they know your networks and passwords but they often open e-mails with viruses and spread them.

“The most common form of hacking is through viruses via e-mail spread to cripple a network and hacking into web pages, where they are defaced, leading to major losses in revenue.

“An example of this was a major retail client that we dealt with where an employee hacked into the company’s system resulting in a day-long down time at the cost of around R1 million,” said Morgan.

He said that since the introduction of Windows in the late 1980s, there was an increase in vulnerability.

“Companies need to constantly update their security systems and step up on staff awareness. On a number of social engineered techniques for clients we’ve managed to enter major organisations posing as repair men or cleaners or even just plain suits blending with the environment.

“We then access a computer and get into their network. In most cases you are not stopped if you look confident and like you fit in.

“It’s also very easy to hack in to a system through a home-made wireless mechanism. We were able to construct one of these using some information we got off the net.”

Bala Naidoo, Director of Communi-cations for the South African Police Service in KwaZulu-Natal, said: “We are not aware of this hacking community and if any information regarding this is brought forward we will investigate it.

“So far in Durban we’ve dealt with about 52 cases of internet banking fraud and have no hacking cases reported. We investigate these cases through our commercial crime unit which has the expertise to
handle this,” he said.

[Source]

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6 Comments

  1. OK, I have to confess. It was me. I did it with my first HP scientific calculator my mom got me for than sin, cos, tan crap we had to deal with at school. I hooked up the calculator to component hi-fi and recorded all the computer noise.

  2. I am guessing PWC can only follow dead links and regurgitate old news, or is it worthwhile attending this mass gathering of hackers at the food court again?

  3. @gnum This is an old news article I discovered on the Natal Mercury site (from October 31, 2003). I posted it here cos it’s
    interesting to see just how sensationalist the story can be told. AFAIK the 2600 meetups no longer happen, but I could be wrong.

    There are actually some pretty sharp guys at PWC these days.

  4. ah missed the published date, *blush*.

    Yar, I see you still pay for the domain, but are parking the site now :@

    I dunno, some sharp okes in a big five^H^H^H^Hfour audit houses seem to always be the exception not the rule, there is still more then enough FUD in those sort of places to overcompensate for the good ones.

    We must maybe do a reunion party or summin again, get some of the old guys together, though it might turn into one big sad nostalgia fest.

  5. I wonder just how many financial institutions would actually confess to being hacked. With so much fraud and corruption it’s most likely easier to just make friends with someone on the inside, as mentioned, and simply make off with the cash.

  6. I read the article again. And guess what I am still very much at the front end of this except today its called Cyber. I was at the front face of this in 2003. I still remember the work I was doing with Corporates in SA. Am now with EY and I lead Privacy in the UK working with some really bright people in our Cyber teams. This stuff was child play compated to what we see today. So much for 2003…. life was much easier with no Internet of Things, not that much connectivity to the Internet, Connected Devices etc. I wrote this Shaun in the same week that its reported there has been the biggest hack in history with Connected Devices…. stay on top of technology. Am on Linkedin and now in the UK.

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