15-Year-Old using Social Engineering posed as CIA Chief to Hack Highly Sensitive Information

The leader of a notorious pro-Palestinian hacking group “Crackas with Attitude (CWA)” behind a series of embarrassing hacks targeting United States intelligence officials was just a 15-years-old boy. His hacking group are reported to have leaked the personal details of 20,000 FBI agents, 9,000 Department of Homeland Security officers, and some number of DoJ staffers in 2015.

This 15 years old used “social engineering” tactics to impersonate a CIA director and gain unauthorisedly access to highly sensitive information from his home in Leicestershire. The then 15 year old teen at the time of the attacks, now 18-year-old, ( identified as a British teenager hacker) targeted many US officials like CIA director John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, FBI deputy director, as well as other senior FBI figures.

Between June 2015 and February 2016, he used social engineering attacks to tricked call center and helpline staff into giving him broadband and cable passwords. Using this information his team gained access to plans for intelligence operations in Afghanistan and Iran. The teenager taunted his victims and their families by releasing their personal details, bombarded them with calls/messages, even installing porn on their computers and taking control of their iPads and TV. At one point, the teen sent DHS secretary a photograph of his daughter and said he would f*** her, phoned his wife, leaving a voicemail message which said: “Hi Spooky, am I scaring you?,” and even managed to get the message “I own you” on the couple’s home television. The teen was arrested in February 2016 at his council home in Coalville and last October he pleaded guilty to 8 charges of “performing a function with intent to secure unauthorized access” and 2 charges of “unauthorized modification of computer material.”

The teen said he targeted the US government because he was “getting more and more annoyed about how corrupt and cold-blooded the US Government” was and “decided to do something about it.”

The teenager will be sentenced when the hearing resumes at a later date.

 

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These type of attack are not rare and Social engineering attack are been very successful at their hacks because most of us fail to take our privacy seriously online. By posting everything online you simply make it easy for these type of attacks to steal your identity and gain all the background information they need for their attack. Never trust a call on the phone is who he or she says they are, always ask some question to validate that they are genuine before giving out any information. 

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