Were mobile phones hacked to spread rumour of Taliban leader’s death?

Graham Cluley
@gcluley

It seems that the UK isn’t the only country at the centre of a phone hacking scandal.

A spokesman for the Taliban has claimed that phones, email accounts and a website belonging to the group were hacked, and text messages distributed claiming that their reclusive Afghan leader Mullah Mohammed Omar had died from heart disease.

The original SMS text messages were received from phone numbers belonging to Taliban spokemen Zabihullah Mujahid and Qari Yousuf, and read:

“Spiritual Leader Mullah Mohammad Omar Mujahid has died. May Allah bless his soul.”

Zabihullah Mujahid angrily denied the rumours that Mullah Omar, one of the world’s most wanted men, was dead, in an interview with Reuters:

“This is the work of American intelligence, and we will take revenge on the telephone network providers.”

Whether the mobile phones of Taliban spokespeople were actually hacked, or whether their phone numbers were spoofed when sending the messages, is unclear…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

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