The Lazy Genius

Security News & Brain Dumps from Xavier Ashe, a Bit9 Client Partner

Hacker Spawns a French Watergate

Posted by Xavier Ashe on July 13, 2006

A hack of a Luxembourg bank's records is emerging as a key detail of
the so-called Clearstream affair here, a national scandal that's pulled
top-level politicians, powerful corporate executives and now a
white-hat hacking group into its orbit.

Like a spy novel or a French version of All the President's Men,
the scandal has captivated the press, and produced a steady stream of
leaks about political vendettas, secret meetings between high-level
government officials and anonymous letters penned by a mysterious “Le
Corbeau” (the Raven). The apparent electronic espionage now adds a
high-tech angle to what many are calling “the French Watergate.”

Among the falsified evidence produced by the conspirators before the
fraud unraveled were confidential bank records originating with the
Clearstream bank in Luxembourg, which were expertly modified to make it
appear that some French politicians had secretly established offshore
bank accounts to receive bribes. The falsified records were then sent
to investigators, with enough authentic account information left in to
make them appear credible.

A French justice department official close to the probe, speaking on
condition of anonymity, said prosecutors were still in the early stage
of their investigation, but have confirmed that someone hacked into the
bank. “It is true that someone did enter the bank's system and altered
records — we do know that,” the official told Wired News. “But we
still do not know who did exactly what.”

From Wired.

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