Thursday, October 09, 2008

Yahoo Software Engineer Accused of using Hacking Techniques in Terrorist Bomb Plots

In July, an Islamic terrorist group sent e-mail messages claiming responsibility for bombings in Indian cities before the acts took place. The messages were sent by hacking into unsecured wireless networks and one suspect in the case has been identified as software engineer, Mohammed Asghar Mansoor Peerbhoy, who is a Yahoo employee.

Peerbhoy allegedly made several work related trips to the U.S., while employed by Yahoo. It is alleged that he, along with two other Indian software engineers, were part of a media terror cell. One of the engineers has been identified as Atiq Iqbal and Mobin Kader Chaikh and Asif Basrudding Shaikh have been named as the techie connections in the case. One worked for an IT firm and the other was a qualified mechanical engineer. Fifteen people have been arrested in the case thus far.

One of the emails which the hackers sent can be viewed on

The Times of India alleged that Peerbhoy admitted in an interrogation to attending a hacking course, where two foreigners were present. This was an ethical hacking course designed for training internet security workers. Ethical hacking courses are offered all over the place and given that India is part of the global economy, the tie between foreigners and terrorist activity is questionable.

The Indian authorities are stating that the wireless networks were hacked using a fairly well-known technique often referred to as wardriving. Once they secured an unsecured network (pardon the pun), they programmed the e-mails to be sent shortly before the blasts, according to the authorities.

Wardriving is a pretty simple hacking method where someone drives around until they find an unsecured signal. Most wireless cards have the capability of sniffing out available networks. Once an unsecured network is found - getting on it normally only requires the click of a mouse. Teen age hackers are known to engage in this activity for fun. In most cases, any wireless network can be made "hacker proof" by simply password protecting by using the instructions you get when you buy the router. Wardriving has recently been made a felony in the United States.

This story illustrates that you don't have to be very sophisticated to commit crime or terrorism with a computer. Quite often, pretty simple techniques can equate to devastating results. Much more sophisticated do-it-yourself hacking kits, which sometimes come with technical support, are easily obtained on the Internet black market.

Saying that, the end result in this case is tragic.

India has suffered a rash of bombings in recent history. The specific terrorist group behind the incidents in question is known as the Indian Mujahideen, known locally as the IM. It is believed to be affiliated with another Indian terrorist group known as Student Islamic Group of India (SIMI). The Indian government suspects SIMI has been penetrated by Al Qaeda.

Initial arrests in this case were made when Indian authorities tracked down suspects in the case after discovering cell phone numbers the group used and investigating them.


Shark Girl said...

There is a software company, whose owner is from India, on an H1B visa, who is a Defense contractor.

This contractor was given security clearance to access U.S. Military databases at Robins Air Force Base. They also have access to other bases.

I invented a software solution for the military that would thwart contractor corruption. A Fortune 500 Defense contractor was hired by the Air Force to act as the government to evaluate my plans.

They botched the contract negotiations and teamed with the company from Atlanta to force me out of the deal. They said they would go to the powers that be to make sure I didn't get a contract.

The man from India met with me in a restaurant to try to bully me into letting him have the plans to the software. When I refused, he offered me two bribes. When I refused the bribes, he and his government cohort blocked me from getting the contract.

I warned the government that the projects these companies were working on were going to be sabotaged. I was right.

I'm currently in litigation right now and have lost everything because of my stand against corruption.

I am very perplexed why a foreigner was given security clearance to military databases, in spite of the bribes, and his illegal access to the Small Business Administration's 8(a) program, which is not allowed to people with H1B visas.

How are people from India ending up security sensitive jobs?

Anonymous said...

To be in the sba 8(a) program the owner has to U.S. Citizen. I know because my company is an SBA 8(a) company. This report is beyond cheap labor, whoever allows them to have security sensitive jobs is endangering us all. You should report it GAO.

Anonymous said...

You should involve the media (newspapers and radio) in your fight. Call Lou Dobbs radio also. said...