This Joint Intelligence Bulletin (JIB) is intended to provide a review of the tactics, techniques, and procedures demonstrated by the perpetrators of the 22 March 2016 attacks in Brussels, Belgium. The analysis in this JIB is based on statements by European government and law enforcement officials cited in media reporting and is subject to change with the release of official details from post-incident investigations. This JIB is provided by DHS, FBI, and NCTC to support their respective activities and to assist federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government counterterrorism and law enforcement officials, first responders and private sector partners in deterring, preventing, preempting, or disrupting terrorist attacks against the United States.
FBI Cyber Bulletin: Smart Farming May Increase Cyber Targeting Against US Food and Agriculture Sector
The FBI and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) assess the Food and Agriculture (FA) Sector is increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks as farmers become more reliant on digitized data. While precision agriculture technology (a.k.a. smart farming)a reduces farming costs and increases crop yields, farmers need to be aware of and understand the associated cyber risks to their data and ensure that companies entrusted to manage their data, including digital management tool and application developers and cloud service providers, develop adequate cybersecurity and breach response plans.
Over the past 18-24 months, an unknown number of online extremists have conducted “hacktivist” cyber operations – primarily Web site defacements, denial-of-service attacks, and release of personally identifiable information (PII) in an effort to spread pro-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) propaganda and to incite violence against the United States and the West. Recent open source reporting from the Daily Mail India, indicates ISIL is recruiting Indian hackers and offering upwards of $10,000 USD per job to hack government Web sites, steal data, and to build social media databases for recruiting purposes. Indian officials believe as many as 30,000 hackers in India may have been contacted. The FBI cannot confirm the validity of the media reports, and beyond this single article on Indian hackers and ISIL, does not have information indicating any such relationship exists to date. The FBI assesses this activity is most likely independent of ISIL’s leaders located in Syria and Iraq.
Despite efforts to counter violent extremism, the threat continues to evolve within our borders. Extremism and acts of targeted violence continue to impact our local communities and online violent propaganda has permeated social media. Countering these prevailing dynamics requires a fresh approach that focuses on education and enhancing public safety—protecting our citizens from becoming radicalized by identifying the catalysts driving extremism.
(U//LES) DHS-FBI Bulletin: Domestic Extremists Arrested for Illegal Occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
This Joint Intelligence Bulletin (JIB) is intended to provide information on the recent arrest of 11 domestic extremists for conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through force, intimidation, or threats, in violation of 18 USC §372. This JIB is provided by the FBI and DHS to support their respective activities and to assist federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government counterterrorism and law enforcement officials in deterring, preventing, or disrupting terrorist attacks against the United States. As in any criminal case, defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
The FBI has obtained information regarding a group of cyber actors who have compromised and stolen sensitive military information from US cleared defense contractors (CDCs) through cyber intrusions. This group utilizes infrastructure emanating from China to conduct their nefarious computer network exploitation (CNE) activities. Information obtained from victims and subsequent analysis indicates that they were targeted based on their US Navy Seaport Enhanced contracts. The actors did not target information pertaining to a specific contract but instead stole all information that they accessed via their malicious cyber activities. Any activity related to this group detected on a network should be considered an indication of a compromise requiring extensive mitigation and contact with law enforcement.
Disruptive cyber attacks by criminal hackers—primarily distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks—targeting local law enforcement websites have increased since August 2014. We judge that this is almost certainly a result of the heightened coverage surrounding the alleged use of excessive force by law enforcement and an increased focus on incidents of perceived police brutality. The primary impact from the majority of these attacks has been the temporary disruption of the targeted public-facing websites.
(U//LES) FBI Suicide Vest and Belt Use in Middle East, Africa, and Europe Show Minimal Signs of Tactic Migration
The FBI Terrorism Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC) assesses the tactics used to construct suicide vest and belt improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the Middle Eastern, African, and European regions likely have minimal correlation. Use of these tactics allows suicide bombers to discretely move to a desired target location and make real-time decisions to maximize lethality. The suicide belt design allows the wearer to conceal the device and blend in with their surrounding environment, as well as to position themselves in potentially crowded environments while not raising suspicion.
(U//FOUO) FBI Counterintelligence Note: Huawei Chinese Government-Subsidized Telecommunications Company
Huawei is a threat to intellectual property and business communications due to its opaque relationship with the Chinese Government. Huawei has legal obligations to work on behalf of the Chinese state, probably through the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) committee residing within Huawei. This relationship likely influences the company’s decision-making through threats of corruption investigations.
(U//FOUO) Two disrupted plots in Europe earlier this year highlight terrorists possible interest in impersonating first responders through the acquisition of authentic or fraudulent uniforms, equipment, vehicles, and other items which may be associated with government, military, law enforcement, fire,…
This Joint Intelligence Bulletin highlights the potential risks for US persons traveling to Syria or Iraq to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or expressing online a desire to do so. The FBI, DHS, and NCTC remain concerned that US persons traveling to combat ISIL are at risk of being killed, wounded, or captured. Further, ISIL members or supporters could attempt disingenuously to identify and target US persons so as to harm them before or upon their arrival in Syria or Iraq. The State Department has issued travel warnings for both Iraq and Syria and the US Government does not support US persons traveling overseas to combat ISIL.
The Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division’s Quick Capture Platform (QCP) is a state-of-the-art biometric system that enables investigators to collect and store fingerprint data during domestic and international investigations. The QCP enables instant access to federal fingerprint databases. This comprehensive access to the main United States (U.S.) Government biometric holdings enables QCP users to quickly establish whether a subject has possible terrorist links (in the U.S. or abroad) or is likely to pose a threat to the U.S.
Following the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) April 2011 report on the FBI’s ability to address the national cyber intrusion threat, in October 2012 the FBI launched its Next Generation Cyber (Next Gen Cyber) Initiative to enhance its ability to address cybersecurity threats to the United States. In fiscal year 2014, the FBI initially budgeted $314 million for its Next Gen Cyber Initiative, including a total of 1,333 full-time positions (including 756 agents). In addition, the Department of Justice (Department) requested an $86.6 million increase in funding for fiscal year 2014 to support the Initiative. The objective of this audit was to evaluate the FBI’s implementation of its Next Gen Cyber Initiative.
Militia extremists are expanding their target sets to include Muslims and Islamic religious institutions in the United States. This has resulted in increased violent rhetoric and plotting and has the potential to lead, over the long term, to additional harassment of or violence against Muslims by domestic extremists. The FBI makes these assessments with high confidence on the basis of a large body of source reporting generated mainly since 2013. This information augments prior FBI analysis that established militia extremists target government personnel and law enforcement officers, perceived threats from abroad, and individuals or institutions that seek to constrain Second Amendment rights.
In May 2015, the wife of a US military member was approached in front of her home by two Middle-Eastern males. The men stated that she was the wife of a US interrogator. When she denied their claims, the men laughed. The two men left the area in a dark-colored, four-door sedan with two other Middle-Eastern males in the vehicle. The woman had observed the vehicle in the neighborhood on previous occasions.
FBI Cyber Division Bulletin: Hacking Team Exploit Used in Spearphishing Campaign Targeting U.S. Government
A bulletin issued by the FBI Cyber Division discusses a spearphishing campaign targeting U.S. government agencies in June and July of 2015. The campaign utilized a Adobe Flash exploit CVE-2015-5119 that was discovered in the 400GB data archive from hacked Italian surveillance technology company Hacking Team that was released publicly earlier this month. The exploit was being sold as a product of Hacking Team and was listed in their product knowledge base. The bulletin notes that the Flash exploit was being used in phishing emails in June 2015 despite the fact that the Hacking Team data was only made public on July 5, 2015.
FBI Cyber Division Bulletin: Distributed Denial of Service Attack Bitcoin Extortion Campaigns Expanding
Recent FBI investigations and open source reporting reveal that extortion campaigns conducted via e-mails threatening Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks continue to expand targets from unregulated activities, such as illegal gaming activity, to now include legitimate business operations. The increase in scope has resulted in additional attacks with Bitcoin ransom amounts trending upwards as well.
(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI-NCTC Bulletin: ISIL Supporters Targeting Uniformed Personnel for Weapons and Equipment
In the first half of 2015 there were at least two instances of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) inspired individuals in the West expressing interest in targeting law enforcement (LE) to obtain weapons and other specialized gear through theft. As ISIL continues to exhort its individuals in the West to carry out attacks, the potential exists that some terrorists may use this tactic and attempt to steal weapons or issued items, such as credentials, badges, uniforms, radios, ballistic vests, vehicles, and other equipment, which could be used in furtherance of an attack. We note that laws governing the purchase of firearms differ widely among Western nations making this tactic more likely to occur in countries where laws are most restrictive and firearms are harder to obtain through legitimate means.
The FBI has obtained information regarding cyber actors who have compromised and stolen sensitive business information and Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Information obtained from victims indicates that PII was a priority target. The FBI notes that stolen PII has been used in other instances to target or otherwise facilitate various malicious activities such as financial fraud though the FBI is not aware of such activity by these groups. Any activity related to these groups detected on a network should be considered an indication of a compromise requiring extensive mitigation and contact with law enforcement.
This Executive Summary provides a brief overview of the results of the Department of Justice (Department or DOJ) Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) third review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) use of the investigative authority granted by Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Section 215 is often referred to as the “business record” provision. The OIG’s first report, A Review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Use of Section 215 Orders for Business Records, was issued in March 2007 and covered calendar years 2002 through 2005. The OIG’s second report, A Review of the FBI’s Use of Section 215 Orders for Business Records in 2006, was issued in March 2008 and covered calendar year 2006. This third review was initiated to examine the progress the Department and the FBI have made in addressing the OIG recommendations which were included in our second report. We also reviewed the FBI’s use of Section 215 authority in calendar years 2007, 2008, and 2009.
The FBI is providing the following information with HIGH confidence: The FBI has obtained information regarding one or more groups of cyber actors who have compromised and stolen sensitive business information from US commercial and government networks through cyber espionage. Analysis indicates a significant amount of the computer network exploitation activities emanated from infrastructure located within China. Any activity related to these groups detected on a network should be considered an indication of a compromise requiring extensive mitigation and contact with law enforcement.
The FBI and TSA are currently analyzing claims in recent media reports which included statements that critical in-flight networks on commercial aircraft may be vulnerable to remote intrusion. At this time, the FBI and TSA have no information to support these claims but continue to leverage public and private sector partnerships to evaluate potential threats posed by intrusions into a commercial aircraft’s secure networks. The FBI and TSA also continuously monitor and analyze reporting on cyber and technical threats to proactively deter individuals from using remote intrusions to disrupt any portion of the aviation sector, including its business networks, critical navigation and air traffic control signals, and the onboard networks of commercial aircraft.
A joint intelligence bulletin released by the Department of Homeland Security and FBI to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing warns that “domestic extremism will remain a persistent threat through the end of 2015 and beyond” with “high confidence that lone offenders and those who pursue leaderless resistance continue to pose the greatest threat of violence.” The bulletin, which is based on “recent patterns of extremist activity” often “taken by those who plan and act alone or in small cells,” states that domestic extremism “remains a persistent threat, and the United States has experienced violent ideologically-motivated criminal acts, both prior to and after the Oklahoma City attack” including “assaults, arsons, shootings, and use, or attempted use, of improvised incendiary and explosive devices, resulting in death, injury, and property damage.” Moreover, the bulletin states that “many of the same motivations used by domestic extremists to justify their criminal acts in the mid-1990s—anti-government and anti-law enforcement sentiment; racial, ethnic, and religious hatred; and advocacy of violent conspiracy theories—continue to influence domestic extremists and their targeting choices in 2015.”