US DOD crackers exaggerate exploits

Reports that crackers infiltrated a US Defense Department satellite control network last week may have been exaggerated. Officials at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) have refuted claims by a group calling itself the Masters of Downloading, or MOD. In interviews with AntiOnline, a Web site that tracks high-profile cracking activities, MOD members said they'd broken into DISA's networks and confiscated software known as DEM. MOD claimed that the DEM software gave it the capability to bring down the military's information networks whenever it wanted.

Reports that crackers infiltrated a US Defense Department satellite control network last week may have been exaggerated.

Officials at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) have refuted claims by a group calling itself the Masters of Downloading, or MOD. In interviews with AntiOnline, a Web site that tracks high-profile cracking activities, MOD members said they'd broken into DISA's networks and confiscated software known as DEM. MOD claimed that the DEM software gave it the capability to bring down the military's information networks whenever it wanted.

But DISA spokesperson Betsy Flood says this is not true.

"MOD claimed that they got classified information. That is not the case," Flood says. "The DEM is an unclassified network management application. It does not contain classified information, and does not perform control of classified systems. It basically just gives you network status."

PC World News Radio has also learned that master hacking skills may not have been required for MOD to obtain a copy of the DEM software. A Web page providing customer support to military users of the Defense Information Systems Network (DISN) includes a link for downloading the DEM software, although clicking on it currently generates a "page not found" error. According to a posting on Bugtraq, a security mailing list, until last week DISN's FTP server allowed anonymous or unprotected access to a directory containing the DEM software. On April 15, anonymous log-ins were disabled, according to the posting.

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