Hackers left no traces behind, says YÖK head

Hackers left no traces behind, says YÖK head

Hackers left no traces behind, says YÖK head

The documets confiscated by RedHack ‘can make the lives of many innocent people hell,’ says Gökhan Çetinsaya, head of the Higher Education Board (YÖK). DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Hackers who targeted the website of the Higher Education Board of Turkey (YÖK) were far from amateurs and failed to leave behind a trace that might identify them, according to the board’s chairman.

The real victim in the latest leak of more than 60,000 documents by the Turkish hacker group, RedHack, were universities, YÖK head Gökhan Çetinsaya argued.

“A professional group has carried out an organized robbery [of] documents. They haven’t left any traces behind. You can’t give them a pat on their back. With the published documents they can make the lives of many innocent people hell,” Çetinsaya told daily Radikal, stressing that RedHack members should be considered more dangerous than “three or five wicked kids.”

RedHack organized its latest attack against YÖK’s website in an attempt to protest against last month’s clashes between students and police at Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ). Most of the documents obtained consisted of bank accounts, parliamentary complaints and correspondence between universities that revealed administrative mismanagements as well as accusations of corruption.

Çetinsaya denied claims that universities had covered up information, arguing that universities were monitored on a regular basis. According to Çetinsaya, “a false impression” that YÖK overlooked the complaints has now been created in the public’s mind thanks to RedHack.

‘Dirty laundry’

“Some talked about ‘dirty laundry.’ To begin with, obtaining and publishing documents illegally is a crime in the first place. It is not true that the claims in the documents were covered up. On the contrary, [the facts] were established and in the process of being investigated and probed,” Çetinsaya said.

It was a weak password that led to the cyber attack, Çetinsaya pointed out. “Our report revealed that a weak password was used. One of our employees had a password such as ‘1,2,3,4,5,6.’ So the problem is not about the whole system,” Çetinsaya said, adding that two employees were being investigated as part of an internal probe.

Experts from the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) are helping YÖK analyze the aftermath of the leak, Anatolia news agency quoted Çetinsaya as saying.

A weak password similar to “1,2,3,4,5,6” was also designated as the cause of previous cyber attacks that targeted the Ministry of Home Affairs and the National Police Directorate.