A major private intelligence corporation has been hacked down to the root. Everything they have is being dumped on to the web by the attackers. This may have widespread geopolitical consequences.
The Huffpo reports:
LONDON — The loose-knit hacking movement “Anonymous” claimed Sunday to have stolen thousands of credit card numbers and other personal information belonging to clients of U.S.-based security think tank Stratfor. One hacker said the goal was to pilfer funds from individuals’ accounts to give away as Christmas donations, and some victims confirmed unauthorized transactions linked to their credit cards.
Anonymous boasted of stealing Stratfor’s confidential client list, which includes entities ranging from Apple to the U.S. Air Force to the Miami Police Department, and mining it for more than 4,000 credit card numbers, passwords and home addresses.
“Not so private and secret anymore?” the group taunted in a message on Twitter, promising that the attack on Stratfor was just the beginning of a Christmas-inspired assault on a long list of targets.
Anonymous said the client list it posted was a small slice of the 200 gigabytes worth of plunder it stole from Stratfor and promised more leaks. It said it was able to get the credit details in part because Stratfor didn’t bother encrypting them – an easy-to-avoid blunder which, if true, would be a major embarrassment for any security-related company.
Austin, Texas-based Stratfor provides political, economic and military analysis to help clients reduce risk, according to a description on its YouTube page. It charges subscribers for its reports and analysis, delivered through the web, emails and videos.
Zero Hedge reports:
This Christmas will not be a happy one for George Friedman (who incidentally was the focus of John Mauldin’s latest book promotion email blast) and his Stratfor Global Intelligence service, because as of a few hours ago, hacking collective Anonymous disclosed that not only has it hacked the Stratfor website (since confirmed by Friedman himself), but has also obtained the full client list of over 4000 individuals and corporations, including their credit cards (which supposedly have been used to make $1 million in “donations”), as well as over 200 GB of email correspondence. And since the leaked client list is the who is who of intelligence, and capital management, including such names as Goldman Sachs, the Rockefeller Foundation and, yep, MF Global, we are certain that not only Stratfor and its clients will be waiting with bated breath to see just what additional troves of information are unleashed, but virtually everyone else, in this very sensitive time from a geopolitical point of view. And incidentally, we can’t help but notice that Anonymous may have finally ventured into the foreign relations arena. We can only assume, for now, that this is not a formal (or informal) statement of allegiance with any specific ideology as otherwise the wargames in the Straits of Hormuz may soon be very inappropriately named (or halfway so).
The full client list as released in a pastebin by Anonymous of all the alleged clients sorted by company name, can be found here. As this is merely an extracted column from a far larger database, we are confident much more very sensitive information, as the bulk of the companies are either in the intelligence or money management business, will be released shortly.
In the wake of the recent operation by which Stratfor’s servers were compromised, much of the media has focused on the fact that some participants in the attack chose to use obtained customer credit card numbers to make donations to charitable causes. Although this aspect of the operation is indeed newsworthy, and, like all things, should be scrutinized and criticized as necessary, the original purpose and ultimate consequence of the operation has been largely ignored.
Stratfor was not breached in order to obtain customer credit card numbers, which the hackers in question could not have expected to be as easily obtainable as they were. Rather, the operation was pursued in order to obtain the 2.7 million e-mails that exist on the firm’s servers. This wealth of data includes correspondence with untold thousands of contacts who have spoken to Stratfor’s employees off the record over more than a decade. Many of those contacts work for major corporations within the intelligence and military contracting sectors, government agencies, and other institutions for which Anonymous and associated parties have developed an interest since February of 2011, when another hack against the intelligence contractor/security firm HBGary revealed, among many other things, a widespread conspiracy by the Justice Department, Bank of America, and other parties to attack and discredit Wikileaks and other activist groups. Since that time, many of us in the movement have dedicated our lives to investigating this state-corporate alliance against the free information movement. For this and other reasons, operations have been conducted against Booz Allen Hamilton, Unveillance, NATO, and other relevant institutions. The bulk of what we’ve uncovered thus far may be reviewed at a wiki maintained by my group Project PM, echelon2.org.
Although Stratfor is not necessarily among the parties at fault in the larger movement against transparency and individual liberty, it has long been a “subject of interest” in our necessary investigation. The e-mails obtained before Christmas Day will vastly improve our ability to continue that investigation and thereby bring to light other instances of corruption, crime, and deception on the part of certain powerful actors based in the U.S. and elsewhere. Unlike the various agents of the U.S. Government, the hacking team that obtained this information did not break down the doors of the target, point guns at children, and shoot down any dogs that might have been present; Anonymous does not resort to SWAT tactics, and this is simply one of many attributes that separate the movement from the governments that have sought to end our campaign and imprison our participants. Of course, such points as these will not prevent our movement from being subjected to harsher scrutiny than is given to those governments which are largely forgiven their more intrusive tactics by virtue of their status as de facto holders of power in a world that has long been governed in accordance with the dictate that might makes right.
Incidentally, many of us are more than happy to proceed according to that amoral dictate if we find it to be necessary. And, increasingly, we have found it to be so.