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Turkey’s Hack Attacks Show Hacks at Work for Greece

Αssociated Press

(AP Photo, File)

If you're on your mobile phone or the Internet without using a top multiple-hop VPN, a browser like www.ixquick.com, from The Netherlands that doesn't show your IP address, encrypted email such as Proton from Switzerland – the choice of Mr. Robot – a system such as 1Κωδικός πρόσβασης to change your passwords, don't use an encrypted operating system or encrypted offline system, or other ways to hide your identity, ranging from Thunderbird to Tor, you're begging to be hacked.

It doesn't cost that much, but apparently more than a lot of businesses and governments are willing to pay, including Greece, where the defenses against infiltrators and data breaches are sooooo 2004, the last time some of them were reportedly installed, before the days of sophisticated attackers such as Turkey's cyberbandits, Phoenix's Helmets.

The group said it was behind two attacks within a week that broke into the official websites in Greece of the Prime Minister, National Intelligence Service, fire and police headquarters, and other agencies, with the government saying there was no data breach and that sites were reopened fast.

Nice try but no gigabyte because it shouldn't have happened in the first place and if the government cyber defense teams needs it I can add Greece to my systems that seem to work fine. Anybody can be hacked, of course, but hackers look for the easy way in, much the same way that burglars bypass your front door if it's a security door with triple defender dead bolts. It's astonishing really that people build or buy $2 million houses and install $50 locks, which is apparently what happened in Greece's case, said the newspaper Kathimerini and media reports.

You need VPN's and other defenses on your computer or phone if you're banking or sending email or doing any business to protect yourself against hacker geeks who are better at this than are you. That's why people pay for defenses although even major corporations and banks aren't willing to pay for it given how many major data breaches there have been.

Breaking into Target, Yahoo, Facebook, Marriott, or Capital One is serious enough given that people's personal information is then siphoned off, leaving them vulnerable to identity theft or even having bank accounts hampered or emptied, but getting into Greece's top intelligence agency or the Prime Minister's account exposes the government to loss of critical data or even ransom attacks through malware locking down the systems unless Greece's team gets it back.

Journalists have become prime targets too, which is why so many of them use Anonymous Digital Dropboxes to communicate with sources although nothing beats Old School where you can meet someone on a park bench for lunch or in a parking garage (see: Watergate) unless there's sophisticated snoopers about like Gene Hackman's character Harry Caul in The Conversation.

Turkey already is pushing toward conflict with Greece, claiming waters off Greek islands, where it wants to drill for oil and gas off Crete as it's already doing in Cypriot sovereign waters with no one – not the weakling European Union, the Useless Nations, nor NATO, the defense alliance to which Greece and Turkey belong – doing anything to stop it beyond press releases and words.

But in this Cyberworld today an enemy can wreak havoc without firing a shot across the bow from a warship, locking onto targets with F-16's, aiming missiles from submarines, or putting troops on a country's border. You don’t need a military establishment. All you need, to paraphrase Dr. Who, is a wily hacker.

Greece reportedly wasn’t prepared to deal with hack attacks, allegedly by Turkish perpetrators, with Kathimerini reporting that firewall systems and other defenses aimed at stopping them were inadequate or outdated and that more security was needed.

Some of the systems are 16 years old, an eternity in the world of Information Technology where current methods of infiltrating computer systems are so sophisticated that they require constant upgrades and countermeasures.

The report said there were lapses in password systems in the public sector making it easier for hackers and phishers to gain entry, with worry rising that the government and other websites are still vulnerable.

Turkish hackers brought down Greek websites, including the Foreign Ministry, fire and police and public safety systems through a distributed denial-of-service or DDoS attacks which make websites unavailable to users, said government spokesman Stelios Petsas.

The DDoS technique is often used as a distraction to allow hackers to steal data in a parallel assault, the paper said, but there was no report on whether any data was stolen nor how critical was the first sites breach.

An unidentified government official told Reuters that no one knows who was behind it, although it may have been the work of Turkish hackers targeting governments and groups in Europe and the Middle East.

In an interview with Ethnos.gr, Anonymous Greece said those who attacked Greek websites were not professional hackers, showing another worry. “We consider them government officials of (President) Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with ample funding and no special skills. It is a common secret that this group operates under the orders of Turkey’s MIT,” two Anonymous Greece members said.

They said more unsuccessful attempted attacks are “silently” prevented and that the cyberwar is daily and invisible. “We often prevent attacks. There’s a lot that people don’t see.” Note to New Democracy: hire more of them.