It has come to light that the suspect behind the talked-about hacking of the New York dam has been aided by a simple Google search technique to identify the vulnerable system.
According to people familiar with the federal case, the Iranian being charged for hacking the computer system controlling the New York dam used the process known as Google dorking.
The process can be performed by anyone who has a computer and Internet access along with a few special techniques, reports The Wall Street Journal. Federal authorities admit that the process has been increasingly used by today’s hackers to pinpoint vulnerabilities computers within the US have.
Prosecutors found that the Iranian suspect charged this Thursday, March 24, Hamid Firoozi, has found the Bowman Avenue Dam of Rye Brook New York in 2013 through the use of the technique, which, according to people briefed on the investigation, identifies an unprotected computer controlling the dam’s sluice gates and other functions.
Accordingly after identifying the dam, Firoozi hacked his way in using other methods available. One person familiar with the case said that the Iranian was apparently trolling about and then “Google-dorked his way” into the dam.
Employing such simple techniques and using the available resources are common not only on computers but on mobiles as well. Many of the hacking attacks that happened started from using simple techniques then moving on to more complicated ones. Some attacks range from breaching personal data to government data.
Cyber security experts said that the Google Search Technique has been going around for about ten years already, and it is not illegal or always malicious contrary to what is believed. Federal Bureau of Investigation former computer crime investigator Michael Bazzell said that white hat hackers used it primarily to test an organization’s computer system for vulnerabilities.
Bazzell, now a cyber security consultant, adds that one can look for hardware online like that they can access without password or “for a certain type of login portal.” He said it is very effective. National Security assistant attorney general and Justice Department’s top national security attorney John Carlin also said that the technique is now also used by criminal hackers.
Last week, Firoozi was one of the seven Iranian hackers indicted by the Justice Department. The indictment marks the first charges the United States of America has filed against cyber intruders with ties to the Iranian government.
It has highlighted the vulnerability of America’s critical infrastructure computer networks as well as the emerging sophistication of Tehran’s cyber program. The revelation that the Iranian has been able to easily uncover critical networks using basic Google Search Technique will probably gain more attention and concerns.
Concerns particularly on the digital defenses guarding important computer systems that control the nation’s water, electricity, gas and other essential utilities will probably come out adds The Hill. Google, on the other hand, has been mum regarding the said issue.
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