Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Lords of Dharmaraja Faked Indian Gov't Memo on Phone Surveillance

On January 6, 2012, ZDNet reported that a hacker named Yama Tough, a member of the Lords of Dharmaraja hacker group, claimed to have access to documents that described an Indian military intelligence operation which gathered intelligence via backdoor access to Nokia, Apple, and Research In Motion smart phones. The document was made to look official, complete with redacted portions. It named authentic Indian government agencies and individuals to frame a fictional account of an "Advanced Cellular Intercept Programme" targeting the U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC.gov). The document included portions of intercepted emails allegedly obtained through a mobile phone surveillance program using the acronym RINOA SUR (RIm, NOkia, Apple SURveillance).

The emails were stolen from the Indian embassy in Paris and posted to Pastebin in December by Yama Tough and consist of the .BAT archive for one person - William Reinsch, National Foreign Trade Council member and Commissioner of the USCC. I compared the emails contained in the .bat archive of Mr. Reinsch with the emails allegedly collected through RINOA SUR against multiple USCC commissioners and they were identical, which is either a tremendous coincidence or evidence that Yama Tough has invented this entire scandal in order to get more mileage out of the original hack.

Other problematic issues with the alleged Indian military intelligence operation are that Indian Military Intelligence is not mandated to conduct electronic surveillance, with or without the President's authority under the Indian constitution. Also, memos are not internally redacted within the Indian Civil Service.

The Lords of Dharmaraja are mixing authentic stolen data with invented scenarios in order to get more publicity for themselves. Besides their fictional RINOA SUR operation, they've apparently released some new information via InfoSecIsland. Based upon what we've seen so far, it should be treated with a high degree of suspicion.

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