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Hacker Journalists Spawn a French Watergate

Wired has published an article entitled « Hacker Spawns a French Watergate [1] » about the Clearstream hacking scandal. Quote :

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. »

The journalist also write that « the French investigative newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné divulged that members of Lahoud’s engineering team at EADS also belong to a respected French white-hat hacker organization called Rstack, which has ample skills to hack an overseas banking network.« .

I haven’t written the article published in the Canard Enchaîné, but I’m one of the journalists who investigated for its article. Imad Lahoud was accused, for months, of having penetrated the Clearstream banking system. We discovered this was simply not possible, because he hasn’t got sufficient skills.

When I spoke with the Canard Enchaîné’s journalists, I told them that, strangely, Lahoud was at the head of a « dream team » composed of french hackers which skills are, indeed, internationally recognized.

I also mentioned the fact that several of those were part of the Rstack crew, and made it clear that we couldn’t say more about this as they refused to respond to our queries, as they had been hired by Imad Lahoud « after » his so-called « hacking » and as nothing let us think that they could have been engaged in this scandal. Besides, all of them were not part of the Rstack crew, which, in return, could not be held responsible for the wrongdoings of the employer of some of its members…

All of this was supposed to be « off the record« , and not stated in the article; the Canard Enchaîné prefered to mention it, whith this precision that they couldn’t be accused of being part of this so-called « hacking« .

I don’t know who is the « French justice department official close to the probe » who has confirmed to Wired that « someone hacked into the bank« , but as far as I know, it’s simply unprovable. On the contrary, this Wired article let people think the Rstack team could have done it.

The press is partly responsible of all the « hype » that surrounds this scandal, and a lot of false and fanciful accusations have been published. That’s also why Kitetoa, one of the other journalists who were involved in this investigation, later published two articles (1) (2) in order to give more informations, and precisions, about our findings, in order, also, to stop the sensationalism (3) some medias try to add to this scandal.

As written in Kitetoa’s articles, the scandal is not about hacking, but about those industrials, politicians, spies and journalists who believed that someone hacked the Clearstream system. And this saga is already sufficiently complex at the time, whith a lot of smoke screens, to not let false accusations spread.

In summary, there is no « Rstack connection« , and its crew has nothing to do with this « french watergate« . Period.

1. Imad Lahoud, l’informaticien de l’affaire Clearstream (2) n’en est pas un [2]

2. Comment notre article sur Imad Lahoud et l’affaire Clearstream (2) est né… [3]

3. Je suis toujours sidéré du besoin de sensationnalisme des journalistes. [4]