Indian Hackers Claim to Have U.S. Government Passwords
The Taj Mahal in Agra, India.
CREDIT: Yann/Creative Commons
The Indian hacker group that released Symantec anti-virus source code earlier this month now says it has more proof that Indian intelligence agencies are spying on the U.S. government.
Infosec Island's Anthony M. Freed posted an article saying one of the Indian hackers, who calls himself "YamaTough," gave him 68 sets of usernames and passwords for U.S. government network accounts.
YamaTough told Freed the account data is just a sample of the information the hacker group, the "Lords of Dharmaraja," copied from Indian government servers.
"In the best interest of the federal, state and local municipalities and their constituents, Infosec Island will not publish the compromised account data," Freed wrote. "We have provided the information to the proper authorities and are fully cooperating with law enforcement."
Last week, the Lords of Dharmaraja publicly posted purported internal Indian military intelligence memos that said Apple, Nokia and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) had given India "backdoors" secret keys to unlock encrypted communications sent and received by users of their handsets.
As a possible demonstration of the viability of those backdoors, the memos also included transcripts of emails between members of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), a congressional commission that analyzes and reports on bilateral American-Chinese relations. The memos said information revealed in the emails had resulted in Indian naval-intelligence operatives being sent to China.
Reuters said it got hold of a larger set of USCC emails, which it showed to two Indian security experts with ties to India's government and two unnamed Americans "close to" the USCC. All four dismissed the memos as hoaxes possibly concocted by China or India's arch-rival Pakistan.
Other Washington insiders told Reuters the memos seemed genuine.
America, heck yeah
Asked about the Lord of Dharmaraja's motives, YamaTough responded with a strikingly pro-American agenda.
"My team is pro US, we fight for rights in our country we are not intentionally harm US companies," Freed quoted him as writing. "Our mission - exposure of the corruption."
"We do not approve sharing personal data and source codes with foreign governments," YamaTough added. "We want free and nice India and not police state."
YamaTough also said the Lords of Dharmaraja may soon release more data from companies other than Symantec found on Indian government servers.
India and China have had tense relations for more than half a century, fought a month-long border war in 1962 and are currently jockeying for position as Asia's pre-eminent regional power.
Since the end of the Cold War, during which India had close ties to the Soviet Union, U.S.-Indian relations have warmed almost as rapidly as the U.S.-Chinese relationship has chilled.
But attempts to formalize a U.S.-India alliance have been opposed by nationalists and leftists in India's governing coalition, as well as by the U.S.'s longtime ally Pakistan.