The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported a striking security breach Tuesday, admitting that hackers had stolen information from one of its servers and published it online.
According to Reuters, a group with “an Iranian-sounding name” published the information and requested a probe into Israel’s nuclear program. The IAEA is already wary of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Reuters reports the theft may not have compromised much in the way of confidential data:
A Western diplomat said the stolen data was not believed to include information related to confidential work carried out by the IAEA. One of the agency’s tasks is preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.
The hackers who posted the info call themselves Parastoo (the Persian name for birds known as swallows in English) and naturally enough they used Pastebin.
In the Pastebin post Parastoo wrote that this was their first such message and the public would be “hearing game changing news” from them frequently in the future. After publishing a list of email addresses lifted from the IAEA’s server in Vienna, Parastoo asked the owners of the addresses to sign a petition to request a closer look at nuclear activities in the city of Dimona, which is home to Israel’s Negev Nuclear Research Center.
Parastoo seemed to reassure the IAEA that the hack was performed merely to get the agency’s attention, writing that the IAEA’s “critical information is safe with us(,) as we are brothers.”
They closed with an apparent warning to Israel that doubled as a nod to Anonymous: “You are not Anonymous. Expect us.”
The Muslim Cyber Fighters who DDoSed several American banks in October have insisted their project, which they called “Operation Ababil,” was not sponsored by the government of Iran.
“Ababil” is an Arabic word for the same bird called “parastoo” in Persian–the swallow. There are references to the swallow in the Qu’ran, including “The Story of the Companions of the Elephants,” in which a flock of birds carrying stones attack soldiers and elephants, killing them.
So–it’s possible that these hacker references to swallows are just coincidence. Unless hackers have also begun to grow wings.