- Washington and Lee law students demand ban on Confederate flag, say Gen. Lee was racist
- Prosecutors seek arrest warrant for ferry captain in South Korea
- Ann Coulter takes up ‘Mitt Romney for President’ chant again
- Mount Everest avalanche kills a dozen Sherpa guides
- Vice principal saved from South Korean sinking ferry found hanged
- ‘I Am Alive’ app gains popularity in terror-ravaged Lebanon
- Gun giveaways gain popularity among Republican candidates
- S.C. hospital worker slapped with $525 federal fine for refilling $0.89 soda
- Teen from ‘Jihad Jane’ plot becomes youngest ever to serve time on U.S. terror charges
- Iranian woman forgives son’s killer at the gallows
Hackers sell out and go corporate as cyber crime becomes shift work
Online hackers are leaving surprising clues for cyber sleuths based on the time of their attacks — a trail suggesting the computer criminals are punching a clock for shift work.
The new research on cyber sleuthing patterns may change the notion of hackers as counterculture rebels — more importantly help cybersecurity experts halt online assaults and hit back.
Chinese hackers, for instance, are on a Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule, Beijing time, indicating they are likely paid employees based in that time zone.
Researchers at Analysis Intelligence, a company that analyzes cyber threats, looked at "the temporal signature of activities by hacker groups and use[d] those to discern their pattern of life – basically their work week – for matching with national work weeks/schedules" across the globe, they write in a new posting on their site.
For instance, activities of the Syrian Electronic Army, a hacker group linked to the regime in Damascus, start with a bang on Sunday, the beginning of the work week in Syria.
They taper off to almost nothing by Friday and Saturday, the weekend in Syria and 14 other Muslim countries. Israel also has a Friday-Saturday weekend.
The al-Qasam Cyber Fighters, a group believed to be sponsored by Iran, shows the most activity Monday-Wednesday, when banking business in the West is at its peak, but is also active Saturday and Sunday.
The weekend in Iran is Thursday and Friday, when the group's activities are at a low ebb.
Both these groups show a temporal signature matching that of "a regular state-employed hacker week in the Middle East."
By contrast, hacking carried out in the name of Anonymous, the anarchistic, leaderless online alliance, peaks at the weekend "which indicates that they are mostly students or western people with 'normal jobs' that use weekends for hacking," the researchers determined.
To get the temporal signatures, researchers analyzed information from their Recorded Future database — a massive collection of reports about hacking from dozens of public sources compiled by their firm.
"Obviously it's only one signal, but potentially a quite interesting one," the researchers conclude.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...
- Senator's memo shows Iran links in Homeland Security's troubled immigration program
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- Dems back bill to fix problems in investor visa program
- Democrats proceed with Mayorkas vote despite pending investigation
- Game players don't think peace has a chance in Syria
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Tammy Bruce
Team Obama's bizarre behavior helps Gitmo terrorists foil justice
- Harry Reid blasts Bundy ranch supporters as 'domestic terrorists'
- CBO shows it's Paul Ryan 4, Obama 0 on budget targeting
- PRUDEN: When a bored president just 'mails it in'
- Joe Biden's biggest gaffe: VP blowing his 2016 head start
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
- With pot and e-cigarettes, Big Tobacco is just waiting to inhale emerging markets
- Golden Hammer: Easter candy bitter taste for taxpayers?
- Obama taunts GOP, takes nationally televised victory lap on Obamacare
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.