Hackers declare open season on government websites

Hacker groups call for stealing, leaking classified information

The hacker groups LulzSec and Anonymous are teaming up to launch attacks on government websites with the intent of stealing and leaking classified information, and are enlisting any like-minded brethren to do the same.

LulzSec announced what it’s calling Operation Anti-Security in a statement June 19 that employed a metaphor of naval warfare on the “Internet ocean.”

“We encourage any vessel, large or small, to open fire on any government or agency that crosses their path,” the statement read. “We fully endorse the flaunting of the word ‘AntiSec’ on any government website defacement or physical graffiti art. We encourage you to spread the word of AntiSec far and wide, for it will be remembered.”

To date, LulzSec and Anonymous have appeared to operate independently of each other, but LulzSec’s statement said it is teaming up with Anonymous for AntiSec, and Anonymous confirmed the alliance via Twitter, PC World reported.

LulzSec and Anonymous have attracted attention recently for a series of attacks on government websites, including LulzSec’s hacks on the websites of the Senate, CIA and the Atlanta chapter of the FBI-affiliated InfraGard, as well as on commercial sites.

Anonymous also has carried out attacks on foreign government websites; recently, 32 members of Anonymous were arrested in Turkey and three were arrested in Spain. Sony also has claimed that a distributed denial-of-service attack by Anonymous contributed to a hack of its PlayStation Network that netted personal information on more than 100 million users and shut down the network for an extended stretch. 

Despite its successful attacks on government websites, LulzSec’s efforts so far have seemed fairly benign, mostly intended to expose lax security on those sites without doing any real damage. But that could change, according to its statement.

“Top priority is to steal and leak any classified government information, including e-mail spools and documentation,” according to the statement. “Prime targets are banks and other high-ranking establishments.”

Even relatively harmless attacks are worrisome to security experts, however, because they underscore an advantage attackers have over network defenses. Charles Dodd, chief technology officer of Nicor Global, told GCN’s William Jackson “It might be benign, but it shows they have no fear of anyone coming after them. These guys are making a very powerful statement to the rest of the world.”

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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