Monday, December 10, 2007

Headline – “Tennessee: Lab Reports Cyber Attack”

When was this revealed: December 7, 2007

Who did it happen to: The Oak Ridge National Laboratory “Originally known as Clinton Laboratories, ORNL was established in 1943 to carry out a single, well-defined mission: the pilot-scale production and separation of plutonium for the World War II Manhattan Project. From this foundation, the Laboratory has evolved into a unique resource for addressing important national and global energy and environmental issues. Today, ORNL pioneers the development of new energy sources, technologies, and materials and the advancement of knowledge in the biological, chemical, computational, engineering, environmental, physical, and social sciences.”

What Happened: Oak Ridge Lab reported a “sophisticated cyber attack” over the last few weeks might have allowed personal information about thousands of laboratory visitors to be stolen.

“The attack appeared “to be part of a coordinated effort to gain access to computer networks at numerous laboratories and other institutions across the country,” the laboratory’s director, Thom Mason, said in a memorandum to the 4,200 employees of the facility, part of the Department of Energy. Laboratory officials said hackers might have infiltrated a database of names, Social Security numbers and birth dates of every laboratory visitor from 1990 to 2004.”

“Officials have sent letters to about 12,000 potential victims. The assault was in the form of phony e-mail messages containing attachments, which when opened allowed hackers to penetrate the laboratory’s computer security.”

What are the Potential Consequences? If you go to the Oak Ridge web site there is NO MENTION of this attack against their data base. Can YOU start speculating about how this particular information could be abused? Think who “visitors” to this very specialized and high security facility might have been? Grade school students? NO! Tourists from Norway? Hardly!

How about people who themselves have massive amounts of highly sensitive information on nuclear and other processes that are crucial to US national security?

Now whoever stole this information can launch attacks against these 12K visitors web sites, e-mail, data-bases and computers.

Maybe they can even create false ID’s with the information they obtained and maybe they can now become “visitors” to Oak Ridge!

Is there no end to the incompetence, laziness, and data leaking behavior of our government organizations?!

2 Comments:

At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Hero said...

Very chilling indeed. This virus called "ID Theft" is just the beginning and truly the only way to stop this disease is through information and prevention. Keep up the great work!

 
At 1:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all I have to apologize for interupting the train of thought of any previous postings but I have a question I'm wondering if anyone, other than the powers that be, have concidered as regards an eventual outcome of the growing concern over identity theft.

At issue is the very nature of establishing a persons identity for the purposes of operating in this society. Presently we carry the memory of different ways to convey our identity to another from agreements we have made with a given establishment that a certain picture, number, personal history, physical attribute or document is proof of this claim. But any one of these proofs is vulnerable to duplication by another entity with the outcome of potentially doing harm to the life supporting mechanisms that rely on the trust that those original agreements had established.

In other words the ways that we establish our identy to another outside of intimate familiarity is not permenantly attached to the individual, thus transferable.

My concern and finally my question is will these elevated fears over this issue blindly lead individuals to choose a radical option already now available?

I have alluded to the "powers that be" in that there is some reason to assert that there are a few who would benefit from the ultimate controlling influence of imbedded identity microchips. That dark forces who look at the human race as only the last truely abundant natural resource would plunder even this as ruthlessly as it has all others throughout time. Doing this through total control given over in the face of fear.

Is this the future? Or can we learn from the mistaken philosophy of centralization and the monster that awaits to consume the consumer?

 

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