In the wake of the suicide of Internet activist Aaron Swartz earlier this month, it appears that the collective hacker group Anonymous is stepping up its cyber attacks. Soon after Swartz’ death, Anonymous claimed responsibility for defacing MIT’s website with a tribute to Swartz.
Earlier today, the group also claimed responsibility for defacing the website of the U.S. Sentencing Commission. CNN reports that the website included a lengthy message and a YouTube video after it was hit by the hack, which claimed Anonymous had obtained secret files from the U.S. Justice Department.
Anonymous puts part of the blame for Swartz’ suicide on his treatment in the hands of the US justice system, which targeted Swartz after he downloaded millions of academic documents from the JSTOR online resource in 2011, with plans to release them for free to the public. Today, Anonymous claims that the files it took from the Justice Department contain “enough fissile material for multiple warheads,” which is obviously a metaphor for some highly sensitive data.
It remains to be seen if this newest cyber attack was just a defacement of another website or if secret files were really obtained by Anonymous. The U.S. Sentencing Commission site is down as of this writing and a FBI representative says they are treating this incident “as a criminal investigation.”
Anonymous defaces US Sentencing Commission website.
U.S. Justice Department officials plan to bring criminal charges against hackers, governments and companies involved in nation-sponsored computer intrusions on U.S. companies, according to a published report.
“I’ll give you a prediction,” John Carlin, the principal deputy assistant attorney general in the national security division of the Department of Justice, told a DefenseNews reporter. “Now that we are having people look at bringing one of these cases, it’s there to be brought and you’ll see a case brought.”
More than 100 prosecutors are being trained to participate in the new initiative, which is being organized by a little-noticed program known as the national security cyber specialist network. Prosecutors plan to work with agents in the FBI to find additional cases to bring. Prosecutors could possibly call on investigators in the National Security Agency, the Department of Defense and other agencies for additional help.
Feds Plan to Prosecute Hackers Sponsored by Other Nations | DFI News.
When a former senior White House official describes a nationwide surveillance effort as “breathtaking,” you know civil liberties activists are preparing for a fight.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that the little-known National Counterterrorism Center, based in an unmarked building in McLean, Va., has been granted sweeping new authority to store and monitor massive datasets about innocent Americans.
After internal wrangling over privacy and civil liberties issues, the Justice Department reportedly signed off on controversial new guidelines earlier this year. The guidelines allow the NCTC, for the first time, to keep data about innocent US citizens for up to five years, using “predictive pattern-matching,” to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior. The data the counterterrorism center has access to, according to theJournal, includes “entire government databases — flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and many others.”
Massive New Surveillance Program Uncovered | DFI News.