The website of the Pakistani National Response Center for Cyber Crimes was defaced yesterday and hackers mocked the institution through a message on the first page. Furthermore, the attackers claim to have downloaded the database and emails stored on the server.
The National Response Center for Cyber Crimes (NR3C) is operated by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Pakistan's equivalent of the FBI. The NR3C is similar to the FBI's Internet Crime Complain Center (IC3) as it provides a single point of contact for organizations to report matters related to cyber-crime. It also offers information security training to government, as well as private sector organizations.
The attack was claimed by someone associated with a hacking group called "PAKbugs." According to Web defacement archive Zone-H, during 2009, this group was responsible for similar attacks against 1,720 websites, some of them belonging to the Pakistani government.
"Your whole database and e-mails are leaked .... i was really excited to read, see what the [expletive] is private in here lOl," part of the message left on the NR3C reads. "I Guess, Federal Investigation Dept of Pakistan is in Wrong, Untalented Hands !!" the hacker says.
In a post on the pakbugs.com forum, a user named ZombiE_KsA, who identifies himself as one of the founders of the PAKbugs-Crew, has posted some screenshots to substantiate his claims. One of the pictures shows him logged into the cPanel Webmail administration interface on nr3c.gov.pk. Zone-H attributes a total of 168 defacements to ZombiE_KsA, out of which 62 are on high-profile websites.
"It seems that from an amateur penetration test a hacker has access at least to the full email database and possibly the backups, of a National Response Center for Cyber Crimes in a highly politically sensitive country. […] To say this hack has national security implications would not be overstating the matter," writes Rik Ferguson, solutions architect at antivirus vendor Trend Micro.
It is worth pointing out that pakbugs.com was hacked too, back in September 2009. At the time, an unknown hacker made public a list containing the usernames, e-mail addresses and hashed passwords of all forum members. The PAKbugs forum is a well known cyber-crime hub where people exchange illegal information and programs.