Hackers claiming to belong to the Anonymous hacking community broke into the servers of private think tank Stratfor over the holiday weekend.
They stole thousands of credit card numbers and other personal information, and also claim to have stolen the company’s list of confidential clients. This includes organizations such as the United States Air Force and the Miami Police Department.
Stratfor announced the hack on its Facebook page, as well as on Twitter, but has denied that its confidential client list was lifted. The company has also warned that hackers are threatening those speaking out on its behalf against the attack.
Members of Anonymous are apparently divided over the hack.
That’s to be expected, Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, told TechNewsWorld. “Anonymous by its nature is kind of like the Occupy movement — you have a bunch of folks falling under a general banner, but there is no central leadership,” he explained.
What Happened at Stratfor
An unauthorized party disclosed personally identifiable information and credit card data of some of Stratfor’s members on Christmas Eve, according to the firm.
That party also publicly released a list of Stratfor’s members, claiming they were the company’s private clients. However, the list only named some corporate subscribers to its publications, Stratfor insisted.
The posted data identifies major financial, defense and technology companies, media firms, government agencies and various United Nations organizations as clients of Stratfor.
At least 4,000 credit card numbers, passwords, and home addresses of Stratfor clients or members were reportedly stolen, and the hackers have said they’ll donate US$1 million to various charities from those credit card accounts.
Relief agencies including CARE, Save the Children and the African Child Foundation reportedly received donations made with the stolen credit card information. However, none of these organizations mentioned the issue on their websites.
Who Are You?
The hack on Stratfor was announced on Christmas day in a posting on Pastebin that appeared to be from a member of Anonymous. It included links to data stolen from the company’s servers.
Shortly afterward, an emergency press release purporting to be fromAnonymous also was posted on Pastebin, asserting that the Stratfor hack was not the work of Anonymous.
On Tuesday, Anonymous spokesperson Barrett Brown posted a statement asserting that Stratfor was hacked in order to obtain the 2.7 million emails on its servers, rather than credit card information.
The hack was part of Anonymous’ investigation of a state-corporate alliance against the free information movement, Brown said.
The evident confusion in the ranks of Anonymous is because “It’s an amorphous mass of folks with some common beliefs but a lot of variance in terms of their methods and targets,” said Enderle.
On Tuesday, app developer firm Dazzlepod put up a website purportedly to help victims of the Stratfor hack find out whether their email was among those stolen from Stratfor.