I ran across an article over at Slashdot about a recent incident involving a Republican aide, and members of attrition.org. For those that don’t know, attrition.org is a computer security oriented website that attempts to expose industry fraud and misinformation. This particular story finally made it to the “traditional” media yesterday.
So, on to the story. Apparently a Republican aide, Todd Shriber, decided that he wanted to have his college grades modified slightly because he didn’t do to well. So Mr. Shriber contacts attrition.org, having read some of the postings on the site and thinking that they were hackers. His initial email was sent on August 9, 2006.
Jericho and Lyger from attrition.org quickly begin leading the aide on and gathering the “information” that they will need in order to pull off the job. The information included the usual stuff like name, student id, date of birth, pigeon and squirrel pictures… Wait, pigeon and squirrel pictures? Yes, you read that correctly.. Jericho asked Mr. Shriber to forward him “A picture of a squirrel or pigeon on your campus”.
This request for pictures should have thrown up red flags all over the place, but apparently not for savvy Mr. Shriber. Instead, he continues on his quest, providing all of the necessary information with what appears to be eagerness. The pictures and initial information needed to access his grades was provided in exactly one week. This included a message to Lyger, the “hacker”, with a special code phrase in the subject to let Lyger know who he was.
Over the following 11 days Lyger continued to lead Mr. Shriber on providing technical details about his activities. From 768-bit encrypted databases to shutting down systems with smurfs, Lyger explained that he was now ready to “hole-shot this once the hashes match.”
But then disaster struck. “todd… no more.. omfg we are SO busted..” Lyger explained that the noc had run reverse udp traceroutes and caught him. They had everything, the logs, the rot-26 stuff, and everything pointed back to Mr. Shriber’s login. Ah well, so much for that.. Lyger even told him to stay away from attrition.org since they were checking web logs.. And so the charade was over. After less than a month, Mr. Shriber’s chances for good grades were shot.
Mr. Shriber, however, was relieved. In a follow-up message to Lyger he explained that he was getting cold feet anyway and was ready to abort. Oh, and by the way, “As a gesture of good faith, I was hoping you guys would remove our correspondence from your web site. Isn’t that risky for all of us to have it up there?”