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Iranian Hacker Tells VOA: I Stole Security Codes, Not Personal Info

  • Kyle King

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PNN Facebook page

Hacker takes credit for release of encryption code and says he would be willing to share info with Iran.

A hacker who claims responsibility for stealing security codes used to protect the privacy of websites operated by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Skype, tells Voice of America he is a 21-year-old Iranian who would be glad to share his information with the Tehran government.

In an exclusive on-line interview with VOA’s Persian News Network, PNN, the self-described hacker answered a series of questions asked in English and Farsi, saying he was not working for Iran and did not “want anyone to take credit” for what he had done.

In the interview, the hacker again took credit for the release of parts of a stolen algorithm, or security patch, used by Mozilla to encrypt information sent and received by users. The patch has since been updated.

VOA reporter Arash Aalaei, who conducted the interview, says the hacker’s answers to questions about his motivation “match exactly with Iranian government positions and statements.”

Asked if he would be willing to share stolen security codes with the Iranian government, the hacker said “yes, he would gladly share his information and expertise” and would “give his life for Iran’s spiritual leader.” He denied stealing any personal information about anyone in Iran, and said he had only stolen security codes, working alone with a personal computer.

The hacker told VOA, “It is hard for many people to accept that a 21-year-old has challenged digital security and has been decoding encrypted algorithms for many years…” Some computer experts have cast doubt on the claim that a single individual could undertake such an attack alone.

The release of the Mozilla security codes came after the Comodo Group, a global internet security firm, said a hacker had managed to obtain fraudulent digital certificates for websites operated by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Skype and others. Comodo said it immediately revoked the fraudulent security certificates and notified the companies when it learned of the breach in mid-March.

PNN’s weekly Farsi language program 2.0 will have more from the on-line interview this Saturday afternoon at 13:45, Washington time. For more about the show visit PNN’s website at www.voanews.com/persian/news. For VOA news and information in English, visit www.voanews.com.

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