Dutch launch Iran IT hacking probe

September 6, 2011
An Iranian surfs the internet at a cafe in central Tehran. The Dutch secret service has opened an investigation to determine who falsified 531 Internet security certificates in order to snoop on users in Iran, the Dutch Interior Ministry said Tuesday.

The Dutch secret service has opened an investigation to determine who falsified 531 Internet security certificates in order to snoop on users in Iran, the Dutch Interior Ministry said Tuesday.

"The secret service has opened an investigation," its spokesman Vincent van Steen told AFP, adding "it is specifically to find out who hacked the certificates."

The ministry said Monday that Internet security specialist company Fox-IT released a report noting that hackers in July falsified 531 Internet security certificates, also known as SSLs, through Dutch company DigiNotar.

The hackers tried to intercept private communications in Iran, Fox-IT said.

are used to verify to visitors that a particular website is authentic and are issued by DigiNotar and other firms known as Certification Authorities. Internet users whose browsers are fooled by a false certificate could unwittingly reveal their activity to another party in what is known as a "man-in-the-middle attack."

According to Fox-IT, a number of the DigiNotar's servers were hacked and false certificates issued to websites not only that of Skype, , and , but also websites belonging to spy agencies the and and Israel's Mossad.

"It wouldn't surprise me in the end if it turns out that the Iranian government is behind it and is trying to get information it normally couldn't have, such as that from dissidents," Hans van de Looy, an expert at computer security specialist Madison Gurkha, told AFP.

Fox-IT said 99 percent of users targeted by cyber attacks were in Iran.

Explore further: Google users in Iran targeted in certificate scam

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Corban
not rated yet Sep 06, 2011
More specifically, to Iranians. That makes the Iranian gov't the more likely culprit, as this would allow them to eavesdrop on social network communications.
ricarguy
not rated yet Sep 07, 2011
Mr. Vendicar,
"...we know the attacker was either the Israeli or American government." is a pretty strong accusation given the evidence presented, and given the more likely scenario. Cynicism may have clouded your judgment in this case.

It is good at times to try to be humble enough to take a step back and think about beliefs, assumptions and attitudes that can form the blinders that we all are susceptible to and easily lead people astray.

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