Sharyl Attkisson: I think I know who hacked into my computers

posted at 10:26 am on June 18, 2013 by Allahpundit

She covers some of the same ground with O’Reilly that she covered in yesterday’s CBS segment, but he finally gets her to confirm near the end that yes, she has a solid suspicion about whodunnit. And if she’s willing to make an issue of this on her network, let alone another one, while taking care to emphasize that this all happened while she was working on stories that embarrassed Obama and his DOJ, it’s abundantly clear who she thinks the culprit is. You don’t go on national news to talk about being hacked if you think it’s some kid halfway around the world who was messing around.

One obvious question, though: Why go public with this before she’s prepared to formally accuse someone? I’m guessing maybe she thought that, after the hacker caused her so much anxiety by violating her privacy, she’d make him/them sweat a bit too by teasing the exposure to come. Or maybe the revelations about the AP and James Rosen prompted her to start talking about this before she had planned to. No sense holding back on your own bombshell about government harassment of reporters when the media’s been chattering about other instances for weeks.

I still don’t understand, though, if it’s the DOJ that did this why they’d do it in a manner as clumsy as remotely turning on her computers. Surely the feds are better at covering their tracks than that. Speaking of which, note that she mentions here that her personal computer is an Apple desktop. One of the theories yesterday about her computers turning on in the middle of the night was that it was simply Windows checking for the daily update. Apple doesn’t do daily updates, though, does it? I thought it was weekly.



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SoRight on June 18, 2013 at 11:03 AM

One of my best friends is an electrical engineer specializing in computers and IT – and he has recovered data from over-written hard drives on a number of occasions.
I’ve seen him recover whole series of photographs from over-written and (supposedly) “wiped” drives.
You may not be able to get ALL of the data from a wiped drive – but a lot can be recovered.

Solaratov on June 18, 2013 at 12:39 PM

Watching the NSA hearing…so far it sounds like a love story.

That’s why CNN is covering it. I bet it will be all over the MSM tonight at 6.

PattyJ on June 18, 2013 at 12:42 PM

there’s a special type of network packet (called a Wake-On-Lan, or WoL packet) that can be sent to most modern computers to turn them on (or wake them from sleep mode.) With OS X that functionality can be enabled when you turn on remote logins. It’s likely it was waking up when the hacker logged back into the Mac to grab keystroke logs or browser history.

cameo on June 18, 2013 at 1:05 PM

SoRight on June 18, 2013 at 11:03 AM

One of my best friends is an electrical engineer specializing in computers and IT – and he has recovered data from over-written hard drives on a number of occasions.
I’ve seen him recover whole series of photographs from over-written and (supposedly) “wiped” drives.
You may not be able to get ALL of the data from a wiped drive – but a lot can be recovered.

Solaratov on June 18, 2013 at 12:39 PM

That depends on what you mean when you say, “over-written.” Files that are merely deleted and partially over-written can often be recovered. But if you wipe a modern hard drive instead of simply letting the OS delete files, it is not recoverable.

There is, in fact, firmware on modern hard drives that includes a command to securely wipe the hard drive. At that point, it is unrecoverable.

There is a program downloadable for free that will overwrite a hard drive multiple times with random data streams if you’re just paranoid, but it’s overkill. Still, if you’d rather wait for 12 – 36 hours while it runs, it’s always an option.

But all of that only applies when you’re talking about overwriting the entire hard drive. If you want to delete individual files, then the file is just marked as deleted, but the data is usually still there. There are utilities available that will overwrite a file multiple times with other data if you need a more secure file deletion.

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 18, 2013 at 1:29 PM

What did they call that “war room” in Chicago – where all the coders were kept?
The Cave?
That’s where this hack leads to.

Another Drew on June 18, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Solaratov on June 18, 2013 at 12:39 PM

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 18, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Anyone who is that worried about intrusion should do what I do. Namely, have a separate computer that is not connected to the Internet, or even an internal office system, in any way. To move data onto it from another computer, use a CD-R, or flashdrive.

Among other things, as long as you can keep the transfer media virus and trojan-free, it also prevents some clever d**k from erasing your data on the “stand-alone” comp.

It’s a bit of extra trouble to do it that way, but if you’re really serious about security, short of keeping hardcopies of everything, it’s the only way to go.

And FTR, I do keep hardcopies of anything I define as “important”. Belt plus suspenders.

PS- Another good way to protect your computer is one of the simplest. When not in use, don’t just turn the computer off, turn off the power source as well. And oh yes, don’t forget to turn off the modem, too.

They can’t hack you if they can’t get at you.

clear ether

eon

eon on June 18, 2013 at 1:48 PM

…if it’s the DOJ that did this why they’d do it in a manner as clumsy as remotely turning on her computers. Surely the feds are better at covering their tracks than that.

Contrary to popular belief, not every person that works for the Feds is an unprincipled Democrat thug (pardon the redundancy). When what you’re doing is clearly unconstitutional and illegal, you find the most computer savvy thug.

Dexter_Alarius on June 18, 2013 at 1:49 PM

But allof that only applies when you’re talking about overwriting the entire hard drive. If you want to delete individual files, then the file is just marked as deleted, but the data is usually still there. There are utilities available that will overwrite a file multiple times with other data if you need a more secure file deletion.

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 18, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Yes formatting a Hard Drive does not delete the data. It just makes it more difficult to retrieve. If you reload the OS onto it it may overwrite some of the data but it may also just overwrite the OS.

You have to run a utility to actually overwrite the entire hard drive. Even then I have heard that Hard Drive makers are required to circumvent these programs. Of course we will never know for sure thanks to DCMCA. What Microsoft uses to keep quite how they break their OS all the time to force you to reload it or hopefully have to buy a new copy if you dare upgrade your system.

Steveangell on June 18, 2013 at 2:06 PM

There is a program downloadable for free that will overwrite a hard drive multiple times with random data streams if you’re just paranoid, but it’s overkill. Still, if you’d rather wait for 12 – 36 hours while it runs, it’s always an option.

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 18, 2013 at 1:29 PM

I just do:

sudo dd if=/dev/random of=/dev/hdX bs=1M

All clean. If one is paranoid about caches then do it 3 times with /dev/zero in there, also.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on June 18, 2013 at 2:13 PM

I just do:

sudo dd if=/dev/random of=/dev/hdX bs=1M

All clean. If one is paranoid about caches then do it 3 times with /dev/zero in there, also.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on June 18, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Linuxian Showoff!

(Ubuntu and Mint, aiming for Linux from Scratch when I grew up.)

65droptop on June 18, 2013 at 2:44 PM

PS- Another good way to protect your computer is one of the simplest. When not in use, don’t just turn the computer off, turn off the power source as well. And oh yes, don’t forget to turn off the modem, too.

They can’t hack you if they can’t get at you.

clear ether

eon

eon on June 18, 2013 at 1:48 PM

Fascinating stuff. Thank you.

kim roy on June 18, 2013 at 2:50 PM

I volunteer to watch her computer!

claudius on June 18, 2013 at 2:51 PM

fileshredder works well on windows.
just call it up for every file delete, can set to quick 1 pass overwrite or dod spec overwrite.
free too, and can also wipe free space on drive for stuff deleted normally

as far as computers turning on, kind of has to happen to spin up drive to access it.

dmacleo on June 18, 2013 at 3:16 PM

I think we all know who hacked Attkisson’s computers.

The questions is, what are we going to do about it?

AZCoyote on June 18, 2013 at 3:21 PM

funny was just talking with a friend on what to do with older dead drives.
I use them for shotgun practice.

dmacleo on June 18, 2013 at 3:22 PM

Hmm consider this scenario:

The CBS computer whiz kids check her computer again and discover a deleted note that indicated that she had illegally obtained classified information from a government source and she was planning on publishing the information even though there might be serious consequences, including loss of life, if she does.

The whiz kids report the note to CBS suits and they report the information to the government who decides to prosecute her.

Was it her note or was it placed there?

What about any male reporter whose computer shows deleted links to child porn sites? Even though said reporter denies the link to his dying breath does anyone think his reputation would ever be the same?

these people” can screw us in so many ways. If you’re not paranoid you’re not paying attention!!!

E9RET on June 18, 2013 at 3:44 PM

there’s a special type of network packet (called a Wake-On-Lan, or WoL packet) that can be sent to most modern computers to turn them on (or wake them from sleep mode.) With OS X that functionality can be enabled when you turn on remote logins. It’s likely it was waking up when the hacker logged back into the Mac to grab keystroke logs or browser history.

cameo on June 18, 2013 at 1:05 PM

While that is generally true, in most home networks the WiFi router performs a NAT function and most home devices are in RFC1918 address space behind a dynamic NAT which means a packet flying in from the Internet can not be directed at a specific machine on the LAN unless the attacker also has access to the user’s wifi or broadband router. So the attack would have to be a two-step process:

1. They would have to gain access to the broadband or wifi router of the home network.

2. They would have to know the network MAC address of the desired target device in order to send the WoL packet either from that device or via a static NAT set up on it.

3. Disregard 1 and 2 if on an IPv6 network. In that case, her device might have a globally routed IP address that is directly reachable over the internet.

crosspatch on June 18, 2013 at 4:03 PM

1. They would have to gain access to the broadband or wifi router of the home network.

yeah you have to be on the same network for WoL to work, although if her router and/or wifi was provided by her ISP that might be fairly trivial (especially given the NSA’s close relationship with telecoms that’s come to light recently.)

But you don’t need to know the MAC address, you can send a broadcast WoL packet to the entire subnet.

cameo on June 18, 2013 at 4:28 PM

(especially given the NSA’s close relationship with telecoms that’s come to light recently.)

But you don’t need to know the MAC address, you can send a broadcast WoL packet to the entire subnet.

cameo on June 18, 2013 at 4:28 PM

Yeah, been a while, forgot about broadcast at layer 2.

But your first statement is what is wrong here. NSA would not be involved in this unless they were specifically tasked by FBI. Seriously. It is against the law for NSA to target citizens domestically and they are generally pretty darned serious about that because the ramifications would be too great if caught at it. If it is anyone from the federal government it would be FBI or Treasury. Seriously. NSA does not just go around targeting US citizens. It WILL respond to a direct request from FBI or Treasury, but it doesn’t just go around breaking into citizens’ computers on their own.

I would more likely suspect an “activist partisan” member of CBS’s own IT department doing someone “a favor”.

crosspatch on June 18, 2013 at 4:49 PM

And if it is CBS’s own IT department that did it, that might explain why she is reluctant to say anything. It would be an “internal personnel matter”.

crosspatch on June 18, 2013 at 4:55 PM

It is against the law for NSA to target citizens domestically
crosspatch on June 18, 2013 at 4:49 PM

against the law to do a lot of stuff……

dmacleo on June 18, 2013 at 5:08 PM

against the law to do a lot of stuff……

dmacleo on June 18, 2013 at 5:08 PM

So far we haven’t seen any evidence of anything. We have heard a lot of speculation from people. Even the Verizon FISA warrant came from FBI. I’m dead serious. There are a lot of people who WANT to believe something and when they hear a crackpot like William Binney that says things that would validate their view, they are quick to hold those examples up but so far all Binney has offered is speculation. He stomped out of NSA 12 years ago when they cancelled his pet project and he has been on the warpath ever since. PRISM wasn’t even a gleam in the director’s eye when he left NSA. Bottom line is that if you REALLY look at what he says, it is all speculation.

crosspatch on June 18, 2013 at 5:21 PM

crosspatch on June 18, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Pray, what kind of evidence do you want?

IlikedAUH2O on June 18, 2013 at 8:00 PM

Pray, what kind of evidence do you want?

IlikedAUH2O on June 18, 2013 at 8:00 PM

Anything. So far we have nothing. We have idle speculation and that is it.

The FISA order for Verizon metadata came from FBI. If NSA were spying the way some have speculated, they wouldn’t need that order. They would already know who called whom.

More importantly, I think a lot of this comes from a general misunderstanding of NSA. It is under Department of Defense. It has a war mission. It is responsible for protecting the US from foreign threats. It is not a domestic spy agency, that is FBI’s job. NSA would be more interested in if some new electronic signal indicated a new type of air defense system someplace. Or they would be interested to know if some US employee of a tech firm is sending trade secrets to China or if some country is trying to penetrate the computer systems of a US company. They are a defense organization. And yes, it has a lot of capability that goes unused in peacetime that has to be ready to be turned on instantly if needed.

crosspatch on June 19, 2013 at 12:42 AM

It was Snowden.

bluesdoc70 on June 19, 2013 at 2:58 AM

Anything. So far we have nothing. We have idle speculation and that is it.

crosspatch on June 19, 2013 at 12:42 AM

There isn’t going to be anything until someone turns.

Wanna polygraph me?

You have my email.

IlikedAUH2O on June 19, 2013 at 3:39 AM

Sharyl Atkisson = Hawt = My Dream Girl. She’s my age, I’m just basing that on her looks and her demeanor. She a Great Gen-Xer and she makes this generation proud. We believed in honesty and integrity and that’s what she represents. I would marry her if I wasn’t already happy in my own relationship with my own honest beautiful spouse of roughly the same age. I’m just saying I identify with her.

Corporal Tunnel on June 19, 2013 at 4:30 AM

And yes, it has a lot of capability that goes unused in peacetime that has to be ready to be turned on instantly if needed.

crosspatch on June 19, 2013 at 12:42 AM

Tried to sneak that past us, didn’t ya? Just keep defending your overlords, and maybe they won’t hold that little “incident” against you one day.

MadisonConservative on June 19, 2013 at 8:23 AM

She knows who it was…there was a video of Mohammed left on her computer…

right2bright on June 19, 2013 at 8:25 AM

crosspatch on June 19, 2013 at 12:42 AM

Those voices in your head are sure smart…you don’t know where I live do you?

right2bright on June 19, 2013 at 8:27 AM

I pull my old hard drives out and use them for target practice. I guarantee nobody will be reading anything off of those hard drives except ouch!

trs on June 19, 2013 at 10:28 AM

DOJ clumsy? Could have fooled me. That paragon of competence Holder, government employees in general and government at large, incompetent? Have I been lied to ??

arand on June 19, 2013 at 10:30 AM

No one knows what happens in the cloud.
I’m sure NSA has lots of good guys and some “bad ” guys that work for shadowy figures in the ether.
I have friends that work in a 3 letter organization which has a massive “black” budget that the Congress doesn’t know what it’s used for.
It has its own air force, black ops guys, and IT warfare section.
Never believe what a politician tells you. They are some of the dumbest people on the planet.
Just follow the money.
III

dirtengineer on June 19, 2013 at 10:51 AM

I usually have a problem watching O’Reilly, but knowing Sharyl was going to be on, I decided to see her interview. She is a throwback to the days when journalists…were Journalists. Just the facts ma’am….when this opens up, and I don’t doubt for a minute it will, someone is going down. Sharyl’s reputation for un-biased reporting and investigating is going to ensure that happens. Personally, I suspect the DOJ….probably personally pushed by the criminal in charge…Holder.

norm1111 on June 19, 2013 at 12:38 PM

And, 60 Minutes will be doing an hour long program about this and other abuses of government power ….. when hell freezes over. As long as Obama is in power.

SC.Charlie on June 20, 2013 at 4:21 PM

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