A simple SQL injection attack was all that was needed to get hold of data stored in the database of the South African Police Service website, the hacker responsible for the breach recently told MyBroadband.
Going by “Domainer” (or @DomainerAnon on Twitter), the hacker said the attack was made possible by a poorly designed website.
Domainer confirmed that the attack on the SAPS website on Friday (17 May 2013) was in retaliation for “the lack of adequate justice for the slaughtered miners” at Marikana.
“It also highlighted the fact that SAP’s own duty of care, namely the security of information on its servers is questionable,” Domainer said.
On Wednesday (22 May 2013), Divisional Commissioner of Technology Management Services, Lieutenant General Bonginkosi Ngubane responded to Domainer’s statement, saying that he doesn’t think it’s a fair comment to make.
“There is a commission of inquiry that’s ongoing [into the events at Marikana],” Ngubane said. “I think it’s an unfair statement to judge the police before the commission is finished.”
Following Domainer’s release of the data from the SAPS website, eNCA reported that “hundreds of whistle-blowers have had their private details exposed”, resulting in a mixed response on social media.
“Yes, it seemed as though my release of the SAP data fired up some South African people,” Domainer said, adding that whether stemming from criticism or praise, the debate and understanding that follows it is important.
However, Domainer didn’t put much stock in people’s concerns over the information he exposed.
“I laughed when I was accused of ‘blowing’ covers of so-called whistle-blowers,” Domainer said. “I read one e-mail which complained to the police of their lack of service. Another mail reported their missing cat!”
Regardless of the content of the data put online, Domainer said that it must be emphasised that it is the duty of the police that hold this information to ensure its security.
“Back in late 2012 I tweeted the fact that I believed the SAP servers were vulnerable to attack, but at that time had no reason to continue the hack,” Domainer said.
Questioned about why the information obtained through the hack was released publicly, Domainer explained that it was released the same way as all Anonymous data is released.
“That is to say, within public mediums whether it be WikiLeaks, Twitter, et cetera.”
Are you worried about getting caught?
At a press event held on Wednesday (22 May 2013), head of critical systems at the State Information Technology Agency (SITA), Daniel Mashao said that they are concerned about the security of the government websites they host, but are working hard to ensure that they are secure.
Domainer wouldn’t say if he had attacks on other South African government websites in mind.
“It would not be wise or prudent of me to discuss any further attacks on any government,” Domainer said.
Domainer wasn’t worried about being caught by the SAPS, however, despite Ngubane stating that an investigation by Crime Intelligence Division had already yielded some results.
“Crime Intelligence?” Domainer quipped. “Sorry I had to laugh. They have nothing… just pretending that they are doing their job.”