Online Security Breached in Iran

Sep 13, 2011, 10:04 by R.E. Christian

A hacker who says he supports Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is believed to have accessed online communications of as many as 300,000 Iranians, The New York Times says.

"Comodohacker," as he calls himself, told the Times he's a 21-year-old student studying software engineering in Tehran and opposes dissidents in the country but is acting alone.

The Times said security firm Fox-IT found Comodohacker apparently compromised the security of Dutch firm DigiNotar in early June, gained control of the server and generated 531 digital certificates. They included certificates for sites like Google, Facebook and Skype, as well as a few foreign intelligence sites.

The certificates are designed to verify a Web site's authenticity and that the connection to the site is encrypted and thus hard for an outsider to monitor.

Comodohacker told the newspaper in e-mails he shared the certificates with a person or organization believed to have had control over dozens of Internet service providers and university networks in Iran and, possibly, the government. He would not say with whom he shared the certificates.

Fox-IT, commissioned by the Dutch government to investigate, said in the span of a month, 300,000 people got false certificates produced by Comodohacker, allowing access to their e-mails, chats, user names and passwords.

Comodohacker told the Times in e-mails he targeted a Dutch firm because Dutch peacekeepers did not prevent the massacres of Muslims in Srebenica in 1995 and because Dutch legislator Geert Wilders is often critical of Muslims in his country.

As for his motivations, the hacker said: "My country should have control over Google, Skype, Yahoo, etc. I'm breaking all encryption algorithms and giving power to my country to control all of them."

Source: UPI