Nastygrams On the Rise

| January 16, 2020

This came up this morning, so I’m dropping it here. The 82nd Airborne is deployed to the Middle East. Now it appears that hackers have infiltrated the electronic contact system (e-mail, messaging, etc.) and are doing their darnedest to annoy and intimidate the families back in the USA.  In this case, it’s the 82nd Airborne being hit.

Disturbing, to say the least, is when you think you’re on a secure network and you get nastygrams from total strangers.  It appears that there are Iranian hackers at work employed to scare the bejesus out of military family when their AD members are deployed.

https://www.militarytimes.com/flashpoints/2020/01/15/family-members-of-deployed-paratroopers-receiving-menacing-messages-warned-to-double-check-social-media-settings/

From the article: The 82nd has told family members to be vigilant and practice smart behavior online. Family members should check their social media settings and reference the U.S. Army’s social media handbook, Burns said. In addition to distributing social media pamphlets, the division has held information forums for families. Burns could not comment on the reports that WiFi access was suspended for brigade paratroopers in Kuwait.

Separately, two U.S. sources with direct knowledge of the situation told Military Times the WiFi access was suspended over fears of a potential hacking and leak of sensitive contact information. One defense source said the MWR network was compromised, that contacts were pulled from service member’s devices and family members have been getting threats and disturbing messages from hackers. A U.S. defense official said that deployed 82nd troops have been hacked and that messages were sent to family members to scare them. – article

On a side note, 90% of the e-mails I get are phishing, junk mail, or scams. They all end up in the “Junk Mail” box and get dumped as soon as I go to “Junk Mail”.  But it is worrisome to be on the receiving end of nastygrams from hackers, especially when they’re coming from the Middle East.

 

Category: Army, Iran

Comments (22)

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  1. ChipNASA says:

    Well, let’s just leave this here (the last part, not the beginning..)

  2. GDContractor says:

    I have I have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a secure network.

    • Graybeard says:

      And speaking as a (retired) IT geek, your conclusion is correct.

      Which gets my ire up whenever a bank/loan-institution/medical-provider/whatever tells me their on-line system is “Safe, Secure, Easy” – for they will be none of these.

      • AW1Ed says:

        The only secure computer is the one with the hard drive removed, in the safe.

        • BruteLarson407 says:

          Thank you both for the expert vindication! I’m a complete imbecile with these things; and have always followed my gut, which told me as much. I am constantly being ridiculed by family/friends for no social media presence, and simply don’t get the invite because of it. I guess I’ll continue to tell them “the string in my leg is gone,” like Group Captain Lionel Mandrake in Dr. Strangelove. Sorry, I don’t even know how to post a link.

          • 5th/77th FA says:

            ^word^ My man that set my innerwebz up is fairly high up on the security ladder food chain. My system is as secure as he could make it…His words. My insurance policy for this system is I have a very low profile, no online banking, bill paying, shopping, and NO doctor office patient portals. As y’all say, and as we all know, anything transmitted can be received and decoded. Nothing is 100% secure.

            • BruteLarson407 says:

              I do none of those things either. I’ve finally stopped being asked if I want to be on ‘my healthy vet.com, or million veteran program or whatever it is.” Of course, I can’t rid myself of the phone ads when I call. Even so, I’ve gotten at least 5 notifications over the years warning me that someone was breached. Then they want me to to sign up for protection by giving yet another party the EXACT info you want protected! It’s infuriating.

          • Graybeard says:

            BruteLarson407:

            I use the Book of Face to keep up with loved ones – family and friends. And anyone with any deductive ability can pretty well determine where I live.

            But I try to keep under the radar. No pics of the firearms that were lost in the flood after the tornado destroyed the AO just before the hurricane came through. I know the extent of my exposure, and have evaluated the risk factors, then controlled my on-line posting accordingly.

            I am from a large family, and due to my activities in church and Scouting have a broad network of friends, so that limited social media is the best way to keep in contact with what is happening in their lives.

            Like at my former job – I try to keep head and adz below the line of fire, and only noticed when absolutely necessary.

            When I do make on-line purchases, it is only through a credit card that has ID theft protection, so that the jerks cannot drain my bank account.

            Calculated risks, but calculated with my eyes wide open to the nature of the risks.

            YMMV

            • BruteLarson407 says:

              Thanks, I’ll look into my card. Probably won’t do the FB thing though. I’m just not smart enough with computers to watch my ass the way you can watch yours. I instinctively do the same things your typing about offline and I(I hate it when people say this)don’t have much to hide but my peculiar mug. You must be close. I caught some of that flood too!

    • Jus Bill says:

      As a retired INFOSEC weenie, you are absolutely correct.

      They’re experiencing Information Warfare firsthand. I predict we’ll see more as time passes.

      • GDContractor says:

        You might enjoy all ~35 episodes of Darknet Diaries podcast. Each of them documents cases of absolute brilliance on the part of the hackers and/or absolute stupidity on the part of those who’s job it is to stand against them. In one episode, the IRS does not fare well.

        My conclusion is that the only secure networks that exist are those that haven’t been compromised ~yet~. Every network is only as secure as the stupidest human in the chain.

        When I was in A’Stan, I found SIPR crossed with a civilian commercial network, that had probably been crossed for 2 weeks. Why? Because someone picked up a green cable off the floor and plugged it into a switch, probably to make their internet work better. The only way I heard about it was “Hey…come into to TOC and check this out. One of the laptops is displaying the authentication screen for [branded commercial network].”. I found the cable cross about 500 ft away in a random hooch. Ugh.

  3. Claw says:

    Speaking of instant messaging and stuff like that, I have a legit question for the younger warriors among us. Is the “FREE” mail system still available for those in the war zones? I know its been almost 50 years since I used it, but back then you could put a recorded cassette tape in a C-Ration Box, address it to back home, write FREE where a stamp would normally be placed and send it out.

    Do things still work that way in the GWOT Era?

    • David says:

      Cassette? C-rats? What war are you referring to, Boer?

      Better provide translations when you ask questions in foreign languages!

    • Graybeard says:

      Airborne Son was able to send free letters home when deployed, Claw.

      I remember the days of getting cassettes in the mail when Dad was overseas for (non-military) work. I suspect a USB or DVD could be mailed with video messages to the home folks, if desired.

    • BruteLarson407 says:

      I doubt it. I was never in a war zone, but I’m not sure if anyone but us older folks write letters anymore; and it’s getting harder to find something that plays compact discs, let alone cassettes. I hand wrote a thank you letter to a group a few years back, and they acted like I’d sent them an original of The Declaration of Independence! I got thank-you notes for my thank-you note, and they all mentioned ‘hand written.’ I kinda liked that C-Rat chicken though. Or was it turkey? I dunno, some bird in a can but it was sorta good. Plus another free p-38!

    • Twist says:

      It was still free back in 05-06 and 08-09 when I was in Iraq. I only wrote a couple of letters and sent them home because my wife wanted actual letters from when daddy was at war for the kids to hold onto as they got older. Besides that it was mostly email or IM. If you sent packages you had to pay for those though.

    • Claw says:

      My Thanks to all who answered. In response to the first reply about what war I was referring to, the last portion of my overseas mailing address was APO SF 96383, so I’m guessing a little Google-Fu research will give you the answer you’re seeking./s

  4. Mustang Major says:

    My dad never had to reboot his slide ruler.

    • Graybeard says:

      And we sent men to the moon using those things, too!

      Still have Dad’s old slip-stick.

      • BruteLarson407 says:

        I have one too, but I think it’s specific for a machinist. I actually want to learn how to use it but it looks different from the ones in old manuals, or what I can find online.