"Not The Russians" - British MPs Blame Iran For "Brute Force" Hack

Yet another purported example of Russia-linked hackers infiltrating the email accounts of powerful government officials has been conclusively debunked.

The Guardian is reporting that a June incident where the accounts of dozens of UK ministers of parliament were infiltrated by shadowy hackers has been traced back to Iran. The UK intelligence community’s initial conclusion – that the attacks originated in Russia – has been refuted by an as-yet-unpublished report on the incident compiled by British intelligence.

Indeed, the intelligence community’s initial assumption appears to be another example of investigators jumping to a conclusion before a thorough analysis of the evidence has been completed. In a way, it echoes the response by several US states last month to the revelation that hackers had attempted to compromise their voting systems. Some states, including California and Wisconsin, apparently assumed the attacks were linked to Russia, until DHS informed them that it had found no evidence to support this conclusion.

The June 23 cyberattack affected the accounts of dozens of MPs, including Prime Minister Theresa May and several senior other senior ministers. The network that was compromised is used by every MP for interactions with constituents, the Guardian reported.

Initially, UK intelligence determined that hackers had attempted to gain access to accounts protected by weak passwords – despite repeated warnings to choose strong, hard-to-crack passwords.

An anonymous “security source” cited by the Guardian said the hackers used unsophisticated “brute force” attacks where the hackers use specifically designed programs to test out hundreds of thousands of different passwords combinations. “It was a brute-force attack. It appears to have been state-sponsored. The nature of cyber-attacks means it is notoriously difficult to attribute an incident to a specific actor.”

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen added that the attack “absolutely” could leave some people open to blackmail. “Constituents want to know the information they send to us is completely secure,” he said.

Initially, suspicion had fallen upon foreign governments such as Russia and North Korea, both of which have been accused of orchestrating previous hacking attempts in the UK.

Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, said the incident reinforced the notion that MPs need to take extra precaution when securing their data.

“We know that our public services are attacked, so it is not at all surprising that there should be an attempt to hack into parliamentary emails,” he said. “And it’s a warning to everybody, whether they are in parliament or elsewhere, that they need to do everything possible to maintain their own cybersecurity.”

Given the furor that erupted after DHS ordered US government agencies to immediately remove security software designed by Russia-based firm Kaspersky Labs, the revelation about Iran’s involvement in the UK hacks should give intelligence agencies – not to mention lawmakers who seemingly blame Russia for every incidence of cyber meddling uncovered by US intelligence – pause. After the WSJ reported that Kaspersky’s software was essentially being leveraged by the Russian government to create an international spy network, German intelligence announced that they had found no evidence to support this claim.

And while many have blamed Russia-linked hackers for last year’s hack of DNC emails, including emails sent by Hillary Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta, Wikileaks’ Julian Assange is reportedly offering President Donald Trump conclusive evidence that he says would debunk this claim.

However, Chief of Staff John Kelly has rebutted one Congressman’s attempts to bring the deal to President Trump. But as the multiple investigations into whether Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to sway the election in the president’s favor have apparently hit a wall, Assange’s evidence might be the key to silencing these suspicions, which have cast an unsubstantiated pall of illegitimacy over Trump’s first term in office.


Irvingm Mon, 10/16/2017 - 04:22 Permalink

Hard to know what is fact or fiction. As mentioned elsewhere ShepWave sees something big happening this week based on their market calls. Gold on a move just like they said again too.  Stocks sell off by Wednesday afternoon I think. 

philipat BullyDog Mon, 10/16/2017 - 05:08 Permalink

"The nature of cyber-attacks means it is notoriously difficult to attribute an incident to a specific actor.”Especially since we now have confirmed proof that the See-Eye-Aye and Hen-Ess-Aye can leave behind "traces" to make it appear that whomever they want to incriminate left "evidence" to "confirm". They are sometimes too cute for their own good?

In reply to by BullyDog

philipat Boris Alatovkrap Mon, 10/16/2017 - 06:08 Permalink

@Boris, nice to see you posting again, I always enjoy them. As for Russia, it has become a bit surreal hasn't it. But mostly only in countries that "Confuse Austria with Australia"? Perhaps they might yet even confuse Georgia with Georgia and attack Atlanta instead of Tblisi? In the case of Austria and Australia, I'd prfer they chose Austria  (Not a difficult choice for the Deep State with a newly-minted Right "Nationalist" Government) because I live in Indonesia and Australia is a bit too close, thanks.The sad thing is that Goebbels has been proved correct again and the US/MSM still appears to have become masters of the art. The latest example that a majority of "Republicans" (Whatever that means) support a first nuclear strike on North Korea. God help us all.

In reply to by Boris Alatovkrap

new game philipat Mon, 10/16/2017 - 06:49 Permalink

if in doubt blame the c"eye"ay because they can plant a hack and remain in left field. yup all true, ask jullian of austy...so therefore it will here to fore, be all fuking bullshit everytyme, alltyme. we live in the age of crypto deception.instead of a jawbone telling lies it is now a keyboard...

In reply to by philipat

Bonaparte philipat Mon, 10/16/2017 - 08:17 Permalink

Trouble is, philipat, your long distance assessment of reality in the US is right out of DC Comics or some other leftwing-gay-snowflake fantasy.  I can assure you the right in the US knows, the diff between Austria and Australia and the country of Georgia and the US state of Georgia where I live. THE DEEP STATE DID NOT''MINT Right ''Nationalist'' seeing that they spend ever moment trying to block it from all social media and attempts to take back governemnt from the cabal of leftwing loony toons and Harvard trained deep staist idiots in government- fake academia and the lame stream media. The left state is imploding daily and all their instittuions. Even the NFL is now boycotted by their former fans and it is a good thing. A general uprising is brewing in the US against the shadow government, it's deep sate and it's minions of the toady left. The majority is ''woke'' and the bastrds are in for a crushing come uppance, that is moving fast,  trust me. 

In reply to by philipat

philipat Bonaparte Mon, 10/16/2017 - 19:18 Permalink

"It's difficult to discuss things seriously with people who confuse Austria for Australia"-V. PutinObviously you would have a problem with him because your head is so far up your ass with all the propoganda you have so willingly absorbed. And FYI, my politics is to the right of centre but with a focus on the truth. Not so common in the USSA.

In reply to by Bonaparte

SoDamnMad Boris Alatovkrap Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:50 Permalink

Boris, come clean and confess immediately or we will have get tough. You got all of us on ZH to run out and defame Hillary so that Trump would win.  Putin sent you a container load of Russian Standard and Beluga caviar. We know the truth. We have been through your trash and counted the empty vodka bottles.  Now if you don't confess we will take the extreme measure ... and report you to CNN and ruin your life.

In reply to by Boris Alatovkrap

PT philipat Mon, 10/16/2017 - 05:26 Permalink

Before I even bother to get technical, make sure your passwords are at least 8 characters long and it takes at least ten seconds before you can make a second attempt and that should cut down the number of brute-force cyber attacks significantly, unless your password is aaaaabcd or zzzzzyxw.Again, I have no sympathy for govts that get hacked.  It means either their IT security are a bunch of dumb-asses or perhaps they simply shouldn't put all their sensitive info on a computer after all.  Govts get hacked because they allow it to happen, with only the thinnest veneer between "allowing" it to happen and making it happen.Govt got hacked = dog ate my homework.

In reply to by philipat

philipat PT Mon, 10/16/2017 - 05:34 Permalink

My point was that False flags are now demonstrably as common in hacks as with other events (Vegas?). And I also note that certain "Highly intelligent contenders for POTUS" didn't even bother with passwords or ANY other cyber-defences I mean, you know, you can always wipe everything...like with a cloth or something? I mean, for fuck's sake....?

In reply to by PT

philipat PT Mon, 10/16/2017 - 06:11 Permalink

I could recommend some very good Password Management programs that only require a one time effort and some of them are free. But, yes, one does have to wonder at the stupidity of some, perhaps most if that is your point? My point is it makes no diference to the alphabet Agencies; they can ALWAYS hack anything and make it appear that someone else of their chosing did it. It makes no difference how "good your password is" because supercomputers can crack anything eventually, although with "backdoors" that usually isn't even necessary.

In reply to by PT

researchfix Irvingm Mon, 10/16/2017 - 07:47 Permalink

The problem nowadays are the many villains. Two years ago Vladimir Putin was on stage alone, with Assad in a side role. Then he was joined by Erdogan, Kim, Duterte, Maduro, Xi, Iran (note, here it is the country, because every name is too difficult to spell for a correct demonization).It kind of neutralizes the effect of the bad men agenda.

In reply to by Irvingm

Scar Bro lntr Mon, 10/16/2017 - 04:57 Permalink

Oil means everything. Those huge Iranian oilfields, discovered by the British, were a huge loss to the empire when the Iranians locked them out.Unlike the Arabs Iranians saw clearly what the game was and wouldn't put up with a stooge ruling over them just so the West could steal all the oil. If there was a nation of true patriots it would have to be Iran. They sacrificed their young democracy for an Islamic lock down because they identified the bigger threat was from 'freedom' (ie. freedom to be raped by the Western jews). What would you choose?a)Democracy but you must have a Central bank? b)Islamic law or in our case, Christian law (I mean the real Christianity that despises the jewish ways)In hindsight, it would be b) everytime.

In reply to by lntr

PT BennyBoy Mon, 10/16/2017 - 05:34 Permalink

Iranians hacked my bank account.  I had a billion dollars in it yesterday but now it's gone.  They even hacked all my old statements to cover up their nefarious deeds.  I can prove it because none of my old statements has a billion dollars on it any more.  What's worse is that last year the Russians hacked my other billion dollar bank account and the year before that the North Koreans hacked my other other billion dollar bank account and somewhere in between the Syrians hacked my other other other billion dollar bank account.  Man, I just can't catch a break.I hope the Chinese hackers don't learn about my other other other other billion dollar bank account.  I'll be really pissed if they do.

In reply to by BennyBoy

Juliette Mon, 10/16/2017 - 04:58 Permalink

Nuke the island monkeys! "The nature of cyber-attacks means it is notoriously difficult to attribute an incident to a specific actor.” Translation - "We can blame it on whoever we want!"

GreatUncle Mon, 10/16/2017 - 05:19 Permalink

They demand a policy of no encrypted communication for the public as stated by the Home Secretary Amber Rudd recently "so we can spy on you" but then bitch and moan about things like this.Then Liam Fox say MP's need to reinforce their cyber security but the ordinary person will only be allowed to use already back doored encryption.After that convenience to blame it on a state you want to go to war with ... I mean Iran was on the list.Criminals the lot and if anything all their communications should be public to prevent further criminality.  

Thordoom Mon, 10/16/2017 - 05:27 Permalink

Interesting that they blame Iran after idiot Trump backed of Nuclear deal. I am sure it is just coincident and that UK is not a lap dog of US.

PT Thordoom Mon, 10/16/2017 - 05:38 Permalink

"They don't believe in North Korean hackers.""Try Russian hackers.""They don't believe in Russian hackers either.""Try Iranian hackers." ...Actually, we both know it doesn't work like that:"Country X won't do what we tell them to do.""Quick, make up a story about Country X hackers."

In reply to by Thordoom

indygo55 BritBob Mon, 10/16/2017 - 06:35 Permalink

"You ever heard of a territory being taken illegally in the 19th century? "Yeah, the american colonialists took lots of territory from the natives in the USA. We're not going back on that last I heard. We did give 'em some land on which they are allowed to build casinos. Now many of them are rich. 

In reply to by BritBob

Bonaparte indygo55 Mon, 10/16/2017 - 08:45 Permalink

The colonists never took anything from the natives. Most land was sold, traded or abandoned by a native population who killed, stole and robbed fellow natives in endless tribal wars. Also most ''natives'' did not recognize land ownership, other than you owned it long enough to use it and move around to some other site as condtions of weather, war and whim demanded . 

In reply to by indygo55

HenryHall Bonaparte Mon, 10/16/2017 - 09:59 Permalink

The native Americans had no concept of land ownership. The thought the idea of selling the land made about as much sense as a concept of selling the sky, and they were willing to sell the sky also!It simply did not occur to them that the land buyers were not buying the land to use it - they were buying the land to stop others from using it. Most obviously to stop the natives from using it to hunt on. That what American does best, has always done best: ruin the lives of other people, stir up wars were no war needs to exist.

In reply to by Bonaparte

any_mouse indygo55 Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:25 Permalink

Don't leave out tobacco sales.

The Natives are turning the vices that the White man imported back on the Man for profit.

Rich doesn't make 'em happy down on the rez.

When is Simon Black going to explore buying tribal membership and not moving out of CONUS, instead moving onto a Rez.

In reply to by indygo55