Using Infogreffe – France’s National Registry of Corporations and Companies

Any operator knows that prior to any penetration testing activity requires a solid recon phase. The more information you collect about your target, the wider your attack surface becomes and thus, increased chances in a successful infiltration. In this post, we browse to the France’s registry, i.e. the “Registre du Commerce et des Societes” to extract information from the company and use this information to expand our attack surface

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Introduction

Any operator knows that prior to any penetration testing activity requires a solid recon phase. The more information you collect about your target, the wider your attack surface becomes and thus, increased chances in a successful infiltration. When your target is a company, you have a wide array of tools to extract information from and pretty much every country has some sort of registry where financials and board information is kept up to date. Sometime, it also include additional information such as incorporation documents, trademark renewals and so one.

In this post, we browse to the France’s registry, i.e. the “Registre du Commerce et des Societes” to extract information from the company and use this information to expand our attack surface. In this post, we used Huawei as an example, only because they are widespread and maintain multiple locations. All information extracted is publicly available and should not be used to conduct fraudulent or illegal activities.

20130903 - Screenshot - Inforgreffe
Homepage of the ‘Registre du Commerce et des Societes’

Contents

The Système d’Identification du Répertoire des ÉTablissements (SIRET) Number

The SIRET stands for “système d’identification du répertoire des établissements” which is a unique number given to a physical commercial location (building, store, apartment etc…). The SIRET is 14 digits long. The first 9 digits is the SIREN, i.e. the “Système d’Identification du Répertoire des ENtreprises”, which uniquely identify the company owning the unit. The next four digits are the unit number and the last number is a checksum. The checksum is done using the Luhn algorithm. For example, let’s analyze the SIRET for Huawei Technologies France;

Search Results for Keyword 'Huawei' using the Infogreffe Search Engine
Search Results for Keyword ‘Huawei’ using the Infogreffe Search Engine

As you can see above, the SIRET for the Huawei Technologies France headquarters is 451 063 739 00119. What this number says is that Huawei Technologies France has been assigned SIREN 451 063 739 and that the headquarters is the 11th building Huawei Technologies France occupied in France. By observing the SIRET of each location, you can see the building numbers goes from 3 to 11, meaning the company had 3 buildings prior that they moved out from.

That being said, we could now purchase the KBIS report and get quite a lot of information about the board of Huawei Technologies France. But since we are cheap bastards, we’ll look somewhere else for this information. After all, CEOs and executive usually want to tell the world about their position. A quick search for “SIRET ‘451 063 739 00119′” on Google will yield three results only, but that’s all we need for now. The first one on verif.com will provide the list of the executives.

Names of the executives of Huawei Technologies France found on Verif.com
Names of the executives of Huawei Technologies France found on Verif.com

In all honesty thought, just searching for “Huawei Technologies France” would have return another website with the same information. However, Infogrette, like every other national registry can be a valuable startign point to retrieve additional details and expand your recce.

Additional information about Huawei Technologies France found on Societe.com
Additional information about Huawei Technologies France found on Societe.com

And actually, this site is even more generous, as it gives the month and year of birth of every executive in the company:

Birth information about the president of Huawei Technologies France
Birth information about the president of Huawei Technologies France
Birth information about the director general of Huawei Technologies France
Birth information about the director general of Huawei Technologies France

We can validate this information using the advanced search engine of the Infogreffe web site. There is a functionality included to search companies using names of executives including their birth information. For example, let’s make sure Mr. Wang is still on the board of the company. From the front page, click on “Recherche Avancée” (Advanced Search) and then select the second tab: “Recherche par Dirigeant” (Search by Director). Type the name using the “Lastname, Firstname” format and the birth year of the person. Then click the “Rechercher” (Search) button;

Advanced search using "Wang, Yeming" and "1974" to find Huawei Technologies France
Advanced search using “Wang, Yeming” and “1974” to find Huawei Technologies France

Once the results appear, we can see that Mr. Wang is still registered as being the director general of the company. Since any change must be registered to the tribunals, we can be confident that this information is valid.

Search results confirm that Mr. Wang is still at the headquarters of Huawei Technologies France
Search results confirm that Mr. Wang is still at the headquarters of Huawei Technologies France

Conclusion (So What?)

So what you may ask. What can I do with this. We found out the following about Huawei Technologies France:

  • SIREN (ID)
  • Physical locations in France
  • The name of the president and birth information
  • Names and birth information of most executives
  • Financial data of the company

You have now 7 addresses you can physically recon, i.e. see if you can dumpster dive, gather information about physical security (HID cards, fences, cameras etc…) or people working at these locations, which can then lead to additional recce on individual targets. Recceing the individuals found will likely lead to information about their relations, employment and responsibilities, possibly even to email addresses.

This simple guide was meant to provide a quick and dirty “howto” guide to one of the many, many tools available online to conducting research on companies or individuals for any law enforcement purposes. The Infogreffe is a drop in the ocean to locate business information for a very specific region. In the upcoming weeks and months, we will develop on other tools for other regions, as well as techniques you can use to track down targets. Don’t forget that the most important part of the operation is the information gathering phase. The more you know about your target, the easier the later phases will become. Keep in mind that other countries also keep similar registries, although the quality of their website may differ greatly.

Powerpoint presentation from Huawei found online detailing employment in Huawei Technologies France
Powerpoint presentation from Huawei found online detailing employment in Huawei Technologies France found online using Google.

References:

[1] Conseil national des greffiers des Tribunaux de commerce. “Registre du commerce et des sociétés.” Infogreffe – Greffe du tribunal de commerce. https://www.infogreffe.fr/ (accessed September 3, 2013).

Use of Cyber Warfare Will Limit U.S Freedom of Action says Intelligence

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Not entirely cyber warfare related but still a very interesting read, but according to the Global Trends 2025 report by the National Intelligence Council, irregular warfare, which cyber warfare is part of, will play a determinant part into the future of the United States:

“… expanded adoption of irregular warfare tactics by both state and nonstate actors, proliferation of long-range precision weapons, and growing use of cyber warfare attacks increasingly will constrict US freedom of action.[1]

Unfortunately this is the only mention of cyber warfare in the report, which fails to go into further details. This shouldn’t come to a surprise to anyone though. We all know how reliant on technology everything is nowadays and the interconnection between every part of the modern society. Not only does the United States recognized that cyber warfare will be an important part of the upcoming conflicts, but also does China and Russia, which are stated to become heavyweights on the world stage:

“Few countries are poised to have more impact on the world over the next 15-20 years than China. If current trends persist, by 2025 China will have the world’s second largest economy and will be a leading military power.[2]

Right now, even with her very large armed forces of 2 million active personnel[3], China is trying to modernize its military to be more mobile and efficient. In order to accomplish that modernization, it has explored many new avenues that western societies are still trying to grasp. In 1999, two Chinese Air Forces colonels discussed new ways to conduct war in a guide titled “Unrestricted Warfare”, where they describe the use of computers as new weapons for future warfare:

“With technological developments being in the process of striving to increase the types of weapons, a breakthrough in our thinking can open up the domain of the weapons kingdom at one stroke. As we see it, a single man-made stock-market crash, a single computer virus invasion, or a single rumor or scandal that results in a fluctuation in the enemy country’s exchange rates or exposes the leaders of an enemy country on the Internet, all can be included in the ranks of new-concept weapons.[4]

Experts seem to agree that this kind of “new weapon” could do far more damage than one can imagine:

“If someone is able to attack information that is needed by decision makers, or that is crucial to organizing logistics and supply lines of an army on the ground, that means they can induce chaos in a nation[5] said Sami Saydjari, who worked as a Pentagon cyber expert for 13 years and now runs a private company, Cyber Defence Agency.

. If current trends persist, by 2025 China will have the world’s second largest economy and will be a leading military power
... by 2025 China will have the world’s second largest economy and will be a leading military power

We don’t know how much of the concepts explained in this book as been accepted by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), but events from the last decade can gave us clues as how much China has developed cyber warfare capacities based on the text of the two colonels. . Concretes realizations of these ideas may have happened as soon as four years after the publication of the guide during Operation Titan Rain in 2003. With a computer network of more than 3.5 million computers spread across 65 countries, the Pentagon faces many challenges against a strong and sophisticated attack and Operation Titan Rain proved this. According to an article on ZDNet[6], 20 hackers, based or using proxies based in China, successfully attacked American networks in a coordinated attack:

 

  • At 10:23 p.m. PST, the Titan Rain hackers exploited vulnerabilities at the U.S. Army Information Systems Engineering Command at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

  • At 1:19 a.m., they exploited the same hole in computers at the Defense Information Systems Agency in Arlington, Va.

  • At 3:25 a.m., they hit the Naval Ocean Systems Center, a Defense Department installation in San Diego, Calif.

  • At 4:46 a.m., they struck the U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense installation in Huntsville, Ala.

The results from this operation were the theft of several classified information:

“From the Redstone Arsenal, home to the Army Aviation and Missile Command, the attackers grabbed specs for the aviation mission-planning system for Army helicopters, as well as Falconview 3.2, the flight-planning software used by the Army and Air Force,” according to Alan Paller, the director of the SANS Institute[7].

Many other attacks have been suspected to originate from China afterwards. Attacks against most of the G7 countries such as France[8], UK and Germany[9], New Zealand[10] and India[11] have been reported by many medias.

Cyber War
Attacks against most of the G7 countries such as France, UK and Germany, New Zealand and India have been reported

Although evidence gathered shows that China is aggressively pursuing irregular warfare, Russia is also gaining a strong cyber warfare reputation on the world scene. Its attack against Estonia has won world coverage and succeeding attacks on Georgia gave the country experience in that domain. It is again unclear though if attacks from Russia are actually coming from government agencies or from criminal behaviour.

The first incident concerning Russia goes back to 1999, before the Chinese cyber attacks. American networks went under siege in what is now called Operation Moonlight Maze. Back then, FBI officials were investigating a breach into the DOD satellite control systems. Again, while the first accusations for the source of this attack were Russian authorities, it was soon shown that they were not implied in this attack[12]. The only certitude about this operation was that the attack went through a Russian proxy.

Nevertheless, Russia cyber warfare was displayed on Estonia in 2007. Once against, it was unclear if the government was involved or if Russian patriotism over the removal of the war memorial[13] caused Russian script kiddies and botnets to answer with a massive DDoS attack. Moscow always denied any involvement in that case. It is also well known that major botnets that are lurking on the net are often controlled by Russian cyber-criminal gangs such as the Russian Business Network. It’s quite possible that those cyber-gangs ordered their botnets to retaliate against Estonia, especially since the attack consisted mostly of a denial-of-service attack, and wasn’t not as sophisticated as a coordinated hacking attack on networks. Another plausible option would be that Russia’s cyber army is a mercenary force.

A repetition of the Estonia cyber attack then took place against Georgia during the Russia-Georgian conflict. The same kind of attack occurred and took down various governmental and commercial websites: HTTP floods were send to www.parliament.ge and president.gov.ge. Some other sites were hi-jacked and displayed fake information. The Georgian government had to put up a temporary website on Blogspot. This time, the Russian Business Network was openly suspected by many analysts to be behind the attacks[14].

HTTP floods were send to www.parliament.ge and president.gov.ge.
HTTP floods were send to www.parliament.ge and president.gov.ge.

McAfee claims that 120 countries around the world are now developing cyber warfare strategies[15]. It is inevitable that countries without cyber warfare capacities will be at great disadvantage in any arising conflict, as disruption of communications will be the first objective of any belligerent. It’s crucial that a strong offensive and defensive cyber war force be developed in order to not only defend against cyber threats, but also wage war in cyberspace.

See also:

“Inside the Chinese Hack Attack”, “Nathan Thornburgh”, Time, August 25, 2005, http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1098371,00.html (accessed on November 21, 2008)

“Coordinated Russia vs. Georgia cyber attack in progress”, Dancho Danchev, August 11, 2008, http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=1670 (accessed on November 21, 2008)


[1] “Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World”, National Intelligence, U.S Government, November 2008, p. XI

[2] Ibid. p. 29

[3] The Asian Conventional Military Balance in 2006: Overview of major Asian Powers”, Anthony H. Cordesman, Martin Kleiber, CSIS, June 26, 2006, p.24

[4] Translation from “Unrestricted Warfare”, Qiao Liang, Wang Xiangsui, PLA Literature and Arts Publishing House, February 1999. p. 25

[5] “China flexes muscles of its ‘informationised’ army”, Ed Pilkington, Bobbie Johnson, The Guardian, September 5, 2007, http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/sep/05/hacking.internet (accessed on November 21, 2008)

[6] “Security experts lift lid on Chinese hack attacks”, “Tom Espiner”, ZDNet, November 23, 2005, http://news.zdnet.com/2100-1009_22-145763.html (accessed on November 21, 2008)

[7] Ibid.

[8] “French government falls prey to cyber-attacks ‘involving China'”, Agence France-Presse, September 9, 2007, http://www.france24.com/france24Public/en/news/france/20070909-Internet-piracy-france-secuirty-china-hacker.php (accessed on November 21, 2008)

[9] “Chinese government at the center of five cyber attack claims”, Jeremy Reimer, September 14, 2007, http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070914-chinese-government-at-the-center-of-five-cyber-attack-claims.html (accessed on November 21, 2008)

[10] “New Zealand hit by foreign computer hacking”, Agence France-Presse, The Age, September 11, 2007, http://www.theage.com.au/news/Technology/New-Zealand-hit-by-foreign-computer-hacking/2007/09/11/1189276701773.html (accessed on November 21, 2008)

[11] “China mounts cyber attacks on Indian sites”, Indrani Bagchi, The Times of India, May 5, 2008, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/China_mounts_cyber_attacks_on_Indian_sites/articleshow/3010288.cms (accessed on November 21, 2008)

[12] “Russia hacking stories refuted”, Federal Computer Weekly, September 27, 1999, http://www.fcw.com/print/5_188/news/68553-1.html?page=1 (accessed on November 21, 2008)

[13] “Estonia hit by ‘Moscow cyber war'”, BBC News, May 17, 2007,  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6665145.stm (accessed on November 21, 2008)

[14] “Georgia: Russia ‘conducting cyber war'”, Jon Swaine, The Telegraph, August 11, 2008, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/georgia/2539157/Georgia-Russia-conducting-cyber-war.html (accessed on November 21, 2008)

[15] “China Disputes Cyber Crime Report”, Jordan Robertson, Washington Post, November 29, 2007, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/29/AR2007112901588.html (accessed on November 21, 2008)

Dept. of Homeland Security Thinks Blogs is Key to IEDs

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The Department of Homeland Security seeks ideas on how to retrieve information in blogs and forums about the potential use and fabrication of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). The DHS thinks that by analyzing information posted on blogs and forums in real time, it may be able to counter the use of IEDs on the field. They are therefore looking for “Indicators of Intent to Use Improvised Explosives (IEDs) available in Blogs to support the Counter-Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IED) Program.[1]

Any potential person interested would have to:

“2) developing objective, systematic data collection and retrieval techniques to gather data on a near real-time basis from blogs and message boards. Data will be collected at multiple, pre-determined times to evaluate the transmission of information over time, and should include metrics for determining the impact factor and usage patterns of the blogs and message boards. 3) identifying blogs and message boards utilized or favored by groups that engage in violent or terrorist activity to include in the study. Blogs and message boards must be representative of various characteristics of the larger populations of interest. and 4) collecting quantitative and qualitative data from the bloggers to evaluate such issues relating to knowledge of the preparation and execution of violent activities, including IED attacks.[2]

Now, I can think of so many ways to defeat this kind of surveillance. Encryption for one. Second, don’t use blogs or forums from the Internet to show where you will plan your next attack. Use a virtual private network (VPN). Maybe by looking for blogs or forums, they may find the stupidest insurgents/terrorists or teenagers that think they are cool, but the vast majority of them know how to use technology and have learned about encryption. A private web server would do the job also…Imagination is the limit!

See also:

“DHS: Scour Blogs to Stop Bombs”, Noah Shachtman, October 31, 2008, http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/10/dhs-scour-blogs.html (accessed on October 31, 2008)


[1] “Counter-Improved Explosive Devices Blogging”, Department of Homeland Security, Sollicitation Number: HSHQDC-09-R-00004, October 28, 2008

[2] Idem.