Hacker claims breach of FBI’s critical-infrastructure portal

Dec 14, 2022, 12:04 AM | Updated: 6:28 pm
FILE - An FBI seal is seen on a wall on Aug. 10, 2022, in Omaha, Neb. A hacker who reportedly posed...

FILE - An FBI seal is seen on a wall on Aug. 10, 2022, in Omaha, Neb. A hacker who reportedly posed as the CEO of a financial institution claims to have obtained access to the more than 80,000-member database of InfraGard, an FBI-run outreach program that shares sensitive information on national security and cybersecurity threats with public officials and private sector individuals who run U.S. critical infrastructure. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

BOSTON (AP) — A hacker who reportedly posed as the CEO of a financial institution claims to have obtained access to the more than 80,000-member database of InfraGard, an FBI-run outreach program that shares sensitive information on national security and cybersecurity threats with public officials and private sector actors who run U.S. critical infrastructure.

The hacker posted samples they said were from the database to an online forum popular with cybercriminals last weekend and said they were asking $50,000 for the entire database.

The hacker obtained access to InfraGard’s online portal by posing as the CEO of a financial institution, they told independent cybersecurity journalist Brian Krebs, who broke the story. They called the vetting process surprisingly lax.

The FBI declined to comment. Krebs reported that the agency told him it was aware of a potential false account and was looking into the matter.

InfraGard’s memberhip is a veritable critical infrastructure Who’s Who. It includes business leaders, IT professionals, military, state and local law enforcement and government officials involved in overseeing the safety of everything from the electrical grid and transportation, to health care, pipelines, nuclear reactors, the defense industry, dams and water plants and financial services. Founded in 1996, it is the FBI’s largest public-private partnership, with local alliances affiliated with all its field offices. It regularly shares threat advisories from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security and serves as a behind-closed-doors social media site for select insiders.

The database has the names, affiliations and contact information for tens of thousands of InfraGard users. Krebs first reported its theft on Tuesday.

The hacker, going by the username USDoD on the BreachForums site, said on the site that records of only 47,000 of the forum’s members’ — slightly more than half — include unique emails. The hacker also posted that the data contained neither Social Security numbers nor dates of birth. Although fields existed in the database for that information, InfraGard’s security-conscious users had left them blank.

However, the hacker told Krebs that they had been messaging InfraGard members, posing as the financial institution’s CEO, to try to obtain more personal data that could be criminally weaponized.

The AP reached the hacker on the BreachForums site via private message. They would not say whether they had found a buyer for the stolen records or answer other questions. But they did say that Krebs’ article “was 100% accurate.”

The FBI did not offer an explanation for how the hacker was able to trick it into approving the InfraGard membership. Krebs reported that the hacker had included a contact email address that they controlled — as well as the CEO’s real mobile phone number — when applying for InfraGard membership in November.

Krebs quoted the hacker as saying InfraGard approved the application in early December and that they were able to use the email to receive a one-time authentication code.

Once inside, the hacker said, the database information was easy to obtain with a simple software script.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Paul Njoroge, right, points to photos of his wife and three children that were killed in the 2019 c...
Associated Press

Boeing pleads not guilty in case over deadly Max crashes

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Boeing pleaded not guilty Thursday to a fraud charge in an unusual case in which families of passengers who died in two plane crashes are trying to throw out a settlement the company reached to avoid prosecution. At a hearing dominated by emotional, wrenching testimony from passengers’ relatives, a federal […]
14 hours ago
abortion Capital gains tax Olympia meeting legislature abortion...
Associated Press

Washington lawmakers hear testimony on 7 abortion bills

Abortion rights proposals have been front and center in Olympia, Washington, this week as state lawmakers heard hours of public testimony on seven proposals that would reinforce abortion access.
14 hours ago
FILE - The sun dial near the Legislative Building is shown under cloudy skies, March 10, 2022, at t...
Gene Johnson, Associated Press

Justices weigh effort to balance Washington state’s tax code

SEATTLE (AP) — An effort to balance what is considered the nation’s most regressive state tax code came before the Washington Supreme Court on Thursday, with justices hearing arguments about whether they should overturn a prohibition on income taxes that dates to the 1930s. Washington is one of nine states without an income tax, and […]
14 hours ago
FILE - People walk on the sand near the shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant in San Clemente, C...
Associated Press

US sweetens pot to study siting for spent nuke fuel storage

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. government has long struggled to find a permanent solution for storing or disposing of spent nuclear fuel from commercial nuclear power plants, and opposition to such a site is flaring up again as New Mexico lawmakers debate banning a facility without state consent. The state’s prospective ban cleared its […]
14 hours ago
FILE - Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the Administrator for the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services,...
Associated Press

California prison inmates to get some Medicaid care

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government will allow Medicaid dollars to treat some people in prisons, jails or juvenile detention centers for the first time ever, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Thursday. CMS will allow California inmates to access limited services, including substance use treatment and mental health diagnoses, 90 days before […]
14 hours ago
Associated Press

How major US stock indexes fared Thursday 1/26/2023

Stocks climbed Thursday to send Wall Street to its highest level in nearly eight weeks following reports suggesting the economy and corporate profits may be doing better than feared. The S&P 500 rose 1.1% Thursday after briefly dipping lower in late morning trading. More swings may still be ahead, as Wall Street digests a growing […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Hacker claims breach of FBI’s critical-infrastructure portal